Amazing images of Tonga’s new volcanic island

New images of an island created in Tonga in the last few weeks reveal the island turned into a lighter colour and no longer in its dark coloured ash seen previously.

The powerful volcanic eruption that led to the birth of the new island and the disruptions of Tonga’s international and domestic flights two weeks ago “appears to be over”, Taniela Kula, Deputy Secretary for Tonga’s Ministry of Land and Natural Resource said.

Mr Kula said the creation of the new island began when the volcanic activity between the Hungas took place in December 19, 2014.

Westward view of the join between Hunga Ha’apai (left) and the west end of the new island taken 100m from shore. (Taken 24-Jan-15).   Photo/Ministry of Land and Natural Resources
Westward view of the join between Hunga Ha’apai (left) and the west end of the new island taken 100m from shore. (Taken 24-Jan-15). Photo/Ministry of Land and Natural Resources

He said the new island is about 120m high, 1.5km wide (NS) and 2.0km (WE). It is joined with Hunga Ha’apai to the west and about 150 – 200 meters short to Hunga Tonga.

“There were no sign of any emissions of ash, gas or steam observed coming out from the vent of the new formed island”, he said.

Westward close up view of the new island crater taken 100m away. Note the color of the material is lighter than it was in the last visit (7 days before) due to oxidation of the elements such as iron (Fe) and aluminum (Al) (Taken 24-Jan-15). Photo/Ministry of Land and Natural Resources
Westward close up view of the new island crater taken 100m away. Note the color of the material is lighter than it was in the last visit (7 days before) due to oxidation of the elements such as iron (Fe) and aluminum (Al) (Taken 24-Jan-15). Photo/Ministry of Land and Natural Resources

“There were no trace of rafts of pumice or other floating volcanic debris observed.

“No smells of volcanic gases were noticed within 100m of the island. Hunga Tonga (200m to the north of the new island) and Hunga Ha’apai islands (joined to the west) were covered by dark coloured ash from the eruption over the last month, but now turned into lighter colour due to oxidation of iron and aluminum elements”.

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