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Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha'apai volcano (Tonga Islands) eruption: new island grows rapidly

Fri, 16 Jan 2015, 18:52
18:52 PM | BY: T
Eruption between Hunga Tonga and Hunga Ha’apai island on 15 Jan (New Zealand High Commission)
Eruption between Hunga Tonga and Hunga Ha’apai island on 15 Jan (New Zealand High Commission)
Base surges from the eruption (Matangi Tonga)
Base surges from the eruption (Matangi Tonga)
Map of the new island (Matangi Tonga)
Map of the new island (Matangi Tonga)
A new island is now growing at the eruption site between Hunga Ha'apai and Hunga Tonga Islands. As of yesterday, it had an east-west elongated 1.5-2 km long and approx. 1 km wide shape with a half-open cone around the crater reaching almost 100 m in height already.
The new island seems already to have touched the northeastern tip of Hunga Ha'apai island. Violent sea-water and lava interaction has been generating jets of dark ash and dense steam plumes reaching several kilometers of height, as well as ground-hugging base surges.
During the past days, ash plumes have remained confined to lower altitudes and most flights in the area have resumed.
The info graphic by Matangi Tonga online puts the submarine vent significantly to the SE of the new island, which suggests the possibility that there might been two vents - one at the shown location in the map, one at or very near the new island where the first steam plumes appeared on satellite imagery from 30 Dec shortly after the start of the eruption.
A red algae bloom observed in nearby waters of Tonga might be indirectly be related to the eruption, because the emission of volcanic particles, fluids and gasses into the sea water is known to favor their growth.

Previous news

Wed, 14 Jan 2015, 06:00

Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha'apai volcano (Tonga Islands) - Smithsonian / USGS Weekly Volcanic Activity Report for 14 January-20 January 2015 (New Activity / Unrest)

Based on a news article some international and domestic flights in Tonga had been canceled during 12-13 January, affecting about 600 passengers, due to the ash cloud produced from the on-going eruption at Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha'apai. The article noted that ash plumes were rising to an altitude of 9 km (29,500 ft) a.s.l. from a larger explosion and that water around the eruption was colored blood-red. ... Read all
Tue, 13 Jan 2015, 12:41

Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha'apai volcano (Tonga, Tonga Islands) activity update

A pilot reported no visible eruptive activity yesterday, but strong sulfur smell at flight level 160, i.e. 16,000 ft (5 km) altitude. ... Read all
Show more
Submarine volcano 149 m / 489 ft
Tonga, Tonga Islands, -20.57°S / -175.38°W
Current status: normal or dormant (1 out of 5) Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha'apai volcano eruptions:
2021, 2014, 2009, 1988
Typical eruption style
unspecified
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