Report on Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha'apai (Tonga) — 21 January-27 January 2015

Smithsonian / US Geological Survey Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 21 January-27 January 2015
Managing Editor: Sally Kuhn Sennert

Please cite this report as:

Global Volcanism Program, 2015. Report on Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha'apai (Tonga). In: Sennert, S K (ed.), Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 21 January-27 January 2015. Smithsonian Institution and US Geological Survey.

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Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha'apai

Tonga

20.536°S, 175.382°W; summit elev. 114 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


According to a news article from 26 January, the newly-formed island at Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha'apai was about 120 m high, 1.5 km wide (N-S), and 2 km long (W-E). The island was an estimated 1 km in diameter with a crater that was 400-500 m in diameter. It had joined Hunga Ha’apai to the W and was 150-200 m short of joining Hunga Tonga to the N. The article noted that the eruption had decreased during the previous week; there were no longer emissions rising from the vent.

Geologic Background. The small islands of Hunga Tonga and Hunga Ha'apai cap a large seamount located about 30 km SSE of Falcon Island. The two linear andesitic islands are about 2 km long and represent the western and northern remnants of the rim of a largely submarine caldera lying east and south of the islands. Hunga Tonga reaches an elevation of about 114 m above sea level, and both islands display inward-facing sea cliffs with lava and tephra layers dipping gently away from the submarine caldera. A rocky shoal 3.2 km SE of Hunga Ha'apai and 3 km south of Hunga Tonga marks a historically active vent. Several submarine eruptions have occurred at Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha'apai since the first historical eruption in 1912. An eruption that began in mid-December 2014 built a new island between the other two large islands.

Source: Matangi Tonga Online