Falcon Island

Photo of this volcano
  • Country
  • Volcanic Region
  • Primary Volcano Type
  • Last Known Eruption
  • 20.32°S
  • 175.42°W

  • -17 m
    -56 ft

  • 243050
  • Latitude
  • Longitude

  • Summit
    Elevation

  • Volcano
    Number

Most Recent Bulletin Report: 1974 (Ref 1984)


No activity as of 1974

Admiralty sailing directions (Hydrographer of the Royal Navy, 1984) reported volcanic activity at 20.85°S, 175.55°W in 1970, the site of 1911 and 1923 activity, but noted that in 1974 the volcano was dormant. This entry suggests that the Navy received a report of activity from a passing ship.

Reference. Hydrographer of the Royal Navy, 1984, West approaches - off-lying danger: Pacific Islands Pilot, v. II, British Admiralty Bureau, London, UK, p. 330.

Information Contacts: See Reference

The Global Volcanism Program has no Weekly Reports available for Falcon Island.

Bulletin Reports - Index


Reports are organized chronologically and indexed below by Month/Year (Publication Volume:Number), and include a one-line summary. Click on the index link or scroll down to read the reports.

02/1970 (CSLP 70-16) Large area of water discoloration

00/1974 (Ref 1984) No activity as of 1974




Information is preliminary and subject to change. All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


February 1970 (CSLP 70-16)


Large area of water discoloration

Card 0870 (16 February 1970) Large area of water discoloration

William Melson and Robert A. Citron, of the Smithsonian Institution, are on location in the South Pacific . . . . Citron reported the following by cable: "Captain B.N. Rankin, Fiji Airways, spotted submarine volcanic activity on 3 January in vicinity Falcon Island. Rankin estimates discoloration of water covered 500 acre area with a definite division between a patch forming the centre and that surrounding it which was lighter in color. Captain Hillwilliss, Nukualofa, Tonga, believes shoal is Falcon Island. Captain N.M. Ganley, Fiji Airways, gave position of shoal at 35 miles [56 km] SW of . . . Falcon Island."

Information Contacts: Robert A. Citron, Center for Short-Lived Phenomena, Smithsonian Institution.


1974 (Ref 1984)


No activity as of 1974

Admiralty sailing directions (Hydrographer of the Royal Navy, 1984) reported volcanic activity at 20.85°S, 175.55°W in 1970, the site of 1911 and 1923 activity, but noted that in 1974 the volcano was dormant. This entry suggests that the Navy received a report of activity from a passing ship.

Reference. Hydrographer of the Royal Navy, 1984, West approaches - off-lying danger: Pacific Islands Pilot, v. II, British Admiralty Bureau, London, UK, p. 330.

Information Contacts: See Reference

Eruptive History


Summary of Holocene eruption dates and Volcanic Explosivity Indices (VEI).


Start Date Stop Date Eruption Certainty VEI Evidence Activity Area or Unit
[ 1970 Jan 3 ] [ Unknown ] Uncertain 0  
1936 Jun Unknown Confirmed 2 Historical Observations
1933 Apr Unknown Confirmed 2 Historical Observations
1927 Oct 4 1928 Sep (in or after) Confirmed 2 Historical Observations
[ 1921 Nov ] [ Unknown ] Uncertain 0  
[ 1894 Dec ] [ Unknown ] Uncertain 0  
1885 Oct 12 (?) 1886 Confirmed 3 Historical Observations
1877 Unknown Confirmed 2 Historical Observations
[ 1865 ] [ Unknown ] Uncertain 0  
[ 1781 ] [ Unknown ] Uncertain 0  

This compilation of synonyms and subsidiary features may not be comprehensive. Features are organized into four major categories: Cones, Craters, Domes, and Thermal Features. Synonyms of features appear indented below the primary name. In some cases additional feature type, elevation, or location details are provided.

Photo Gallery


Falcon Island is seen from the SE showing the active crater through the SE breach; a steam column is dispersed to the NW by dominant SE Trade Winds. The ephemeral Falcon Island in the central part of the Tonga Islands was named after the British vessel H.M.S. Falcon, which reported a shoal in 1865. Falcon Island has been the site of island-forming eruptions on at least two occasions since the 19th century. By 1949 the island had eroded beneath sea level, but the summit of the volcano remains at shallow depths.

Photo by A. Thompson (published in Taylor and Ewart, 1997).
See title for photo information.

Smithsonian Sample Collections Database


There are no samples for Falcon Island in the Smithsonian's NMNH Department of Mineral Sciences Rock and Ore collection.

Affiliated Sites