New island continues to form in Tonga due to volcanic eruption

SUVA, Sept. 28 (Xinhua) -- A new island is forming in Tonga's western volcanic chain due to the Home Reef effusive lava flow eruption over the past days since Sept. 10 this year.

This handout satellite imagery released on September 16, 2022 by Planet Labs PBC and captured on September 14, 2022, shows the Home Reef Volcano in Tonga, where earlier this week, researchers noticed new seismic activity and venting. (File photo: AFP)

According to the Matangi Tonga Online news website on Wednesday, as of Sept. 19, the island measured 211 meters north-south and 218 meters east-west with an approximate total surface area of 8.6 acres and an estimated height of 15 meters above sea level. There are no hazard alerts for residents in Vava'u and Ha'apai.

Tonga's Geological Services (TGS) reported that the aviation alert level was lowered from orange to yellow on Sept. 27.

Monitoring of the eruption is ongoing with daily notices issued on the status of the eruption.

The TGS update on the Home Reef volcano said that the volcanic activities in the previous 24 hours were progressive with 21 volcanic events, one of which was ash eruption compared to 15 volcanic events in the prior 24 hours.

TGS said the volcano activity poses low risks to the Vava'u and Ha'apai communities.

Home Reef is located 25 km southwest of Late Island, 22 km northeast of Lateiki (Metis Shoal) and 75 km northwest of Mo'unga'one Island.

In January this year, the Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha'apai volcano near Nuku'alofa, capital of Tonga, erupted violently and triggered a tsunami.