New Island Tonga: Ephemeral Island Born From Volcano Attracts Tourists

March 16, 2015 | By Garrett Montgomery More

New island off Tonga has people talking. The stunning photos of the new island, which belongs to the Tonga Kingdom, have been posted on the internet by a local businessman and photographer. A lengthy volcanic eruption in Tonga, has given birth to a new island and its dimensions are 1.1 miles by 0.9 miles. The fish-shaped island, which is made of scoria is expected to erode in few months.

new pacific island tonga

New Tonga Pacific island appears and will soon disappear. The Kingdom of Tonga will be briefly composed of 177 islands thanks to a new Tonga island that emerged this week.

According to scientists, several months of volcanic eruptions about 65 kilometers or 40 miles northwest of Nuku’alofa in the Kingdom of Tonga, has resulted in a new island being formed.

The Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha’apai underwater volcano, which has been erupting since December 19th, released steam, ash, nitrogen and phosphorus in the air and became dangerous for planes flying above

New Zealand volcanologist Nico Fournier was one of the first humans to visit the island, which is sitting between Hunga Tonga and Hunga Ha’apai. Fournier explained that it is about 1.8 kilometers (1.1 miles) by 1.5 kilometers (0.9 miles) in dimension.

The unnamed island is mainly made of loose scoria, which is a dark colored volcanic rock that can sometimes contain crystals. Fournier from the New Zealand agency GNS Science explained that eruptions are still taking place on the fish-shaped island and went on to add:

“It’s quite an exciting site, you get to see the birth of an island. Visually it was quite spectacular, but there was no big sound coming with it, no boom. It was a bit eerie.”

King Tupou VI will not have a chance to give the new land mass a name because once the volcano stops erupting, the ocean will erode it. In order to survive, the new pacific island had to be made of lava or something more durable.

The new island did cause damage to Hunga Tonga and Hunga Ha’apai by stripping them of all of their vegetation and caused what is known as a red tide or algal bloom. For the few months the island will be around, it will become the country’s latest tourist attraction.

One of the first tourists to visit the ephemeral island is Italian hotel owner Gianpiero Orbassano. On Saturday, the European, his son and a friend climbed to the highest point of the island’s crater, which is about 250 meters high.

Mr Orbassano spoke to an Australian radio and said that it was an amazing experience. He revealed that the New Tonga Pacific island looks like the moon and added:

“We had a beautiful view of the volcano, which inside is now full of green emerald water, smelling of sulfur and other chemicals. The view was fantastic.”

Mr Orbassano, who has been living in Tonga for more than 20 years, revealed that the lake on the island smells like sulfur and the soil is hot. In awe by the wonders of nature, Gianpiero Orbassano stated:

“This was a great location. It’s not every day a new island appears in the middle of the ocean, It was absolutely amazing. It’s going to be amazing for tourists to go on top, it’s a really different experience and it’s not so far away [from the capital]. It’s amazing. It’s really something this volcano.”

While the formation of land mass after volcanic eruptions is extraordinary, it is not rare in that region, which is located within the “Ring of Fire,” an area of the Pacific Ocean, which experiences a great deal of seismic activity.

What do you think of this New Tonga Pacific island? Do you want to go visit?

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    Comments (8)

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    1. Ania says:

      volcanic eruptions are beatiful

    2. george says:

      The work they need to do should not involve eroding our rights and making themselves rich at our expense.

    3. Jamescheeyee says:

      Does China has anything to do with this NEW island?
      It is provocative and creates instability for the region.
      USA shall sell Tonga weapons to define itself, Jerry will be there in a second representing the define industries.

    4. Jamescheeyee says:

      Does China has anything to do with this island creation?
      It is provocative and uncalled for irresponsible action aims to dis-stable the region.
      USA shall immediately sell weapons to Tonga and Kerry will be there in a second representing the define industries.

    5. OldWhatsHisName says:

      So what is your idea of “work”? Giving you more freebies?

    6. Jeff says:

      Seriously, you think some sort of deity caused the creation of the island?

    7. Mahabba says:

      Your witnessing of the Creator in creation is beautiful.


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