NASA Shares Video of New Tongan Island Forming From Underwater Volcano
New York, Dec 12: The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) on Tuesday shared a video of a new Tongan island forming from an underwater volcano in the South Pacific Kingdom of Tonga. It had erupted in late December 2014 rising as high as 30,000 feet into the sky. When the ash finally calmed down a month later, a newborn island with a 400-foot summit had formed. The newly formed Tongan island, unofficially known as Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha’apa, as a 6 to 30-year lease on life, a NASA report said.
“Volcanic islands are some of the simplest landforms to make. Our interest is to calculate how much the 3D landscape changes over time, particularly its volume, which has only been measured a few times at other such islands. It’s the first step to understand erosion rates and processes and to decipher why it has persisted longer than most people expected,” said Jim Garvin, chief scientist of NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center.
The Tongan island, which is the third “surtseyan” volcanic island in the last 150 years to have persisted for more than a few months. Surtsey island had started forming with a similar kind of explosion off the coast of Iceland in the year 1963.
“There’s a huge amount of material that came out from this eruption, possibly larger than at Surtsey. The other interesting thing is that the two islands that surround this new land mass have some pretty tough substrate, so there’s something happening to help make this solidify and stay in place, chemically,” said geologist and co-author Vicki Ferrini.