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Report on Lateiki (Tonga) — December 1979


Scientific Event Alert Network Bulletin, vol. 4, no. 12 (December 1979)
Managing Editor: David Squires.

Lateiki (Tonga) Additional information on eruptions and pumice drift

Please cite this report as:

Global Volcanism Program, 1979. Report on Lateiki (Tonga) (Squires, D., ed.). Scientific Event Alert Network Bulletin, 4:12. Smithsonian Institution. https://doi.org/10.5479/si.GVP.SEAN197912-243070



19.18°S, 174.87°W; summit elev. 43 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. Deni Tuni reported that pumice arrived at the following Solomon Islands locations (figure 2) on the following dates: Malaita and the N and E shores of Santa Isabel, 1 October; Indispensable Strait and Guadalcanal, 6 October; Savo and the Russells, 18 October; and the SW shore of Rennell, 13 November.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 2. Sketch map of the Solomon Islands, showing locations and dates of pumice arrivals from Metis Shoal eruption, October-November 1979.

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: D. Woodhall and R. Richmond, Mineral Resources Dept., Fiji; D. Tuni, Ministry of Natural Resources, Solomon Islands.