Entirely New Island Formed Off Tongan Coast
Photo via Sam Bolitho on Twitter
It’s not often that new land masses are discovered, but the first photos have surfaced of a newly-formed volcanic island in the Pacific Ocean off the coast of Tonga.
According to Jonathan Pearlman of The Guardian, the island formed between two other land masses, Hunga Tonga and Hunga Ha'apai, and three local men made the trip to the new island on Saturday, snapping the first pictures of the volcanic formation.
Sam Bolitho of ABC's Asia Pacific News Centre shared one of the first images of the island:
The official Twitter account for The Guardian shared a picture of the lake that formed in the crater of the island, which reportedly smells heavily of sulfur, according to the visitors:
Radio Australia showcased an image from the peak of the island looking over the landscape:
Up next: Tonga's newest volcanic island. GP Orbassano, who took this photo, says it could be a new tourist attraction pic.twitter.com/cxYgZKEGuF— RA Pacific Beat (@RAPacificBeat) March 10, 2015
The island is believed to have formed as a result of an underwater volcano eruption and began taking its cone shape last month. The mile-long land mass has cooled enough for humans to walk on the surface, but the three men claim the ground is still hot, according to Pearlman.
As quickly as the island came, Pearlman is reporting that it will likely slide back into the ocean and fully disappear again in a matter of months.
GP Orbassano was one of the Tongan locals who first visited the island, and he told Pearlman that he believed the island would remain standing longer than expected, resulting in a possible boom in tourists being attracted to the area.
Tonga’s lands and natural resources ministry gave The Guardian details about the size of the island last month, stating that it, “was half a mile wide and just under a mile long. It is believed to be about 820 feet high.”
Regardless of how long the island stays above the water of the Pacific Ocean, the speed of the formation, the way in which it happened and the stunning images surfacing now should have scientists and travelers intrigued by the new land mass.
More by Donald Wood
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