Report on Tofua (Tonga) — December 1979
Scientific Event Alert Network Bulletin, vol. 4, no. 12 (December 1979)
Managing Editor: David Squires.
Tofua (Tonga) Fumarolic activity noted during July
Please cite this report as:
Global Volcanism Program, 1979. Report on Tofua (Tonga) (Squires, D., ed.). Scientific Event Alert Network Bulletin, 4:12. Smithsonian Institution.
19.75°S, 175.07°W; summit elev. 515 m
All times are local (unless otherwise noted)
Most of the reported eruption sites were investigated during the 11-18 July cruise of the Fijian research vessel RV Bulikula.... Large fluctuations in the intensity of fumarolic activity were observed at both Fonualei and Tofua.
Geologic Background. The low, forested Tofua Island in the central part of the Tonga Islands group is the emergent summit of a large stratovolcano that was seen in eruption by Captain Cook in 1774. The summit contains a 5-km-wide caldera whose walls drop steeply about 500 m. Three post-caldera cones were constructed at the northern end of a cold fresh-water caldera lake, whose surface lies only 30 m above sea level. The easternmost cone has three craters and produced young basaltic-andesite lava flows, some of which traveled into the caldera lake. The largest and northernmost of the cones, Lofia, has a steep-sided crater that is 70 m wide and 120 m deep and has been the source of historical eruptions, first reported in the 18th century. The fumarolically active crater of Lofia has a flat floor formed by a ponded lava flow.
Information Contacts: D. Woodhall and R. Richmond, Mineral Resources Dept., Fiji; D. Tuni, Ministry of Natural Resources, Solomon Islands.