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Satellite image of Tonga eruption 18 March 2009

Posted by admin in activity reports, eruptions, Pacific, submarine volcanism, Tonga.
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The MODIS equipment on NASA’s Aqua satellite captured a true-colour image of the submarine eruption of Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha’apai in Tonga at 01:45GMT (14:45 local time) on 18 March 2009. The full-size image can be found at the NASA MODIS Rapid Response site. Below is a detail of the image showing the eruption (yellow arrow). North is at the top; the island at the lower edge is Tongatapu Island, where the Tongan capital Nuku’alofa is located, while upper right are the islands of the Nomuka Group. The eruption is producing a dense plume of steam which shows up white against the ocean. Volcanic ash can be seen floating on the ocean surface around the plume.

Tonga submarine eruption, 18 March 2009 0145GMT (NASA Aqua image)

Click here to view the original full-size image (at 250m per pixel scale – other resolutions can be selected) at the NASA MODIS Rapid Response site. There is also now a nice clear mapped version here.

(Thanks to Robert Simmon of NASA for drawing my attention to this image.)

UPDATE: This image is now available at the NASA Earth Observatory, in the ‘natural hazards’ category: Submarine Eruption in the Tonga Islands (18 March 2009).

Information
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

The Volcanism Blog

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Comments

1. ian in hamburg - 20 March 2009

The video of that eruption that went out on the wires in the past 24 hours was pretty spectacular – huge sprays of black lava gushing out of the sea with massive steam clouds billowing all around. I like how you can hear them in the background saying Turn The Boat Around!!!

2. Helen - 20 March 2009

I don’t think it was actually black lava, I think it was just ash and debris. If I’m nopt mistaken it takes a very specific type of volcano to churn out lava like you are describing and i think it would behave quite differently. But hey I could be wrong.

It was still very dramatic tho, and your right about what the guys on the boat are saying, I hope they are enjoying their 15 minutes!

They said on the news this morning that an earthquake had been recorded and a tsunami warning issued but the warning level has been scaled back now with nothing to report.

3. Miguel Eduardo Arguedas E. - 25 March 2009

Excelente fotografía. Me gustaría saber si ha existido algún problema para los habitantes cercanos.

4. Tonga Eruption Video and Photos | The Geology News Blog - 31 March 2009

[...] eruption has been covered in more detail around the geoblogosphere: Satellite image of Tonga eruption – The Volcanism Blog Undersea Volcano – Mountain Cat Geology Details on the Tongan Eruption – Eruptions Blog Sea-Floor [...]

5. Fábio Caparica » del.icio.us entre 19.03.2009 e 27.03.2009 - 1 April 2009

[...] Satellite image of Tonga eruption « The Volcanism BlogThe MODIS equipment on NASA’s Aqua satellite captured a true-colour image of the submarine eruption of Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha’apai in Tonga at 01:45GMT (14:45 local time) on 18 March 2009. [...]


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