New volcanic island in the Pacific Ocean, was born in 11 hours – Terra & Poli

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 reach an area of ​​24,000 square meters. Its appearance is documented by the images taken last September 14 by the US satellite Landsat 9, by NASA and USGS, and by Sentinel-2 of the Earth observation program Copernicus, of the European Space Agency (ESA) and the European Commission.

The images show the young island dominated by a long trail of vapors and ash and surrounded by greenish waters due to the volcanic material poured into the sea. This spectacular birth was generated by the underwater volcano Home Reef, part of an ocean ridge that extends from New Zealand to Tonga, in an area where the Pacific plate is rapidly slipping under two other plates (that of Kermadec and that of Tonga) at a rate of 24 centimeters per year.

Between 9 and 10 September the volcano woke up from a long sleep that lasted 16 years and in the following days it repeatedly emitted lava, plumes of steam and ash. Eleven hours after the eruption began, the new island appeared, which initially had an extension of 4,000 square meters and a height of 10 meters. Its growth then continued, so much so that on 20 September 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 persist even for several years. The last island generated by an eruption of the Home Reef volcano in 2006 was eroded by waves over the span of a year. Another island formed in 2020 by the eruption of the nearby Late’iki volcano disappeared after just two months, while a previous island created in 1995 by the same volcano lasted for 25 years.