Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha’apai erupts 17 March 2009Posted by admin in activity reports, eruptions, Pacific, submarine volcanism, Tonga.
Tags: Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha'apai. Tonga, Pacific, submarine volcanism, volcanic activity reports, volcanic eruptions
And what, precisely (you ask), is Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha’apai? It is, or rather, they are, two islands that cap a large seamount in the Tonga Islands. Passengers and crew on a flight over the area witnessed a fresh eruption there yesterday, the first since 1988.
Above: Plume from the Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha’apai eruption viewed from Kanokupolu Beach, Nuku’alofa, 18 March 2009. Photograph by Shane Egan, copyright Matangi Tonga, used with permission. [source]
UPDATE, 18 March 2009. Various news sources have picked up the story and are listed below. Among the details reported are a possible connection to a magnitude 4.4 earthquake last Friday, 35km W of Tongan capital Nuku’alofa. In Tonga itself, Matangi Tonga has a detailed story with pictures of the eruption plume taken from Nuku’alofa. Stuff.co.nz reports that New Zealand air traffic is being disrupted by the eruption, and quotes an Airways New Zealand spokeswoman as saying that the volcano’s eruption column is reaching 15000 metres altitude. Wellington VAAC, however, currently reports ash at flight level 150, which is 15000 feet (4500 metres). The highest altitude they have reported the emissions reaching is flight level 250, 25000 feet, which is 7600 metres.
Click here for a satellite image of the eruption (MODIS/NASA Aqua).
Above: Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha’apai plume photographed from Nuku’alofa waterfront, 18 March 2009. Photograph by Pesi Fonua, copyright Matangi Tonga, used with permission. [source]
Above: Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha’apai plume photographed from Kanokupolu Beach, Nuku’alofa, 18 March 2009. Photograph by Shane Egan, copyright Matangi Tonga, used with permission. [source]
Images from Matangi Tonga are reproduced here with the kind permission of Pesi Fonua, Publisher/Editor. The Volcanism Blog is very grateful for permission to use these images.
Global Volcanism Program: Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha’apai – summary information about Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha’apai (0403-04=)
Tonga volcanoes and volcanics – overview from the USGS
Undersea volcano erupts off Tongan coast – Associated Press, 18 March 2009
Undersea volcano erupts off Tonga – ABC News, 18 March 2009
Underwater eruption close to Nuku’alofa – Matangi Tonga, 18 March 2009
Underwater volcano erupts near Tongan capital – ABC Radio Australia News, 18 March 2009
Deep sea volcano erupts off coast – 9 News, 18 March 2009
Volcanic eruption disrupts NZ flights – Stuff.co.nz, 19 March 2009