There is a new volcanic island in the Pacific Ocean: it was born in just 11 hours as a result of an underwater eruption near Tonga, and in a few days it has grown to an area of 24,000 square meters. Its appearance was documented by images taken last September 14 by the US satellite Landsat 9, by NASA and USGS, Sentinel-2 from the Copernicus Earth Observation Program, the European Space Agency (ESA) and the European Commission.
The images show the young island dominated by a long trail of fumes and ash surrounded by waters greenish due to volcanic material flowing into the sea. This amazing birth was born by the Home Reef volcano, part of an oceanic ridge that stretches from New Zealand to Tonga, in a region where the Pacific plate is sliding rapidly under two other plates (the Karmadec and Tonga plates) at a rate of 24 cm per year.
Between September 9 and 10, the volcano woke up from a long sleep lasting 16 years, and in the following days repeatedly released lava, steam, and ash plumes. Eleven hours after the eruption began, the new island appeared, which initially extended to 4,000 square meters and 10 meters in height. Then it continued to grow, to the point that on September 20 it reached an area of 24,000 square meters. His fate remains uncertain. Islands created by submarine volcanoes generally have a short life, but in some cases they can even last for several years. The last island created by the eruption of the Home Reef volcano in 2006 was eroded by waves over the course of a year. Another island formed in 2020 by the eruption of the nearby Latiki volcano disappeared just two months later, while an earlier island created in 1995 by the same volcano lasted for 25 years.
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