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Report on Lateiki (Tonga) — August 1979


Scientific Event Alert Network Bulletin, vol. 4, no. 8 (August 1979)
Managing Editor: David Squires.

Lateiki (Tonga) Fumarolic activity on the island during August, pumice washes ashore 1,150 km NW away

Please cite this report as:

Global Volcanism Program, 1979. Report on Lateiki (Tonga) (Squires, D., ed.). Scientific Event Alert Network Bulletin, 4:8. Smithsonian Institution. https://doi.org/10.5479/si.GVP.SEAN197908-243070



19.18°S, 174.87°W; summit elev. 43 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)

Some fumarolic activity continued to take place during August on Late Iki. Geologists do not expect the island to persist for more than a few months. Reports from Rotuma Island (12.5°S, 177.08°E, about 1,150 km NW of Late Iki) state that a thick blanket of pumice washed up on the S side of the island in mid-August. Fish that jumped out of the sea and landed on the pumice were unable to return to the water. No other reports of pumice have been received by the Fiji Mineral Resources Department in August.

Geological Summary. Lateiki, previously known as Metis Shoal, is a submarine volcano midway between the islands of Kao and Late that has produced a series of ephemeral islands since the first confirmed activity in the mid-19th century. An island, perhaps not in eruption, was reported in 1781 and subsequently eroded away. During periods of inactivity following 20th-century eruptions, waves have been observed to break on rocky reefs or sandy banks with depths of 10 m or less. Dacitic tuff cones formed during the first 20th-century eruptions in 1967 and 1979 were soon eroded beneath the ocean surface. An eruption in 1995 produced an island with a diameter of 280 m and a height of 43 m following growth of a lava dome above the surface.

Information Contacts: R. Richmond, Mineral Resources Dept., Fiji.