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Home Reef volcano re-emerges above sea level, Tonga

home reef volcano september 9 2022 sentinel-2 f

Home Reef submarine volcano in Tonga started erupting on September 9, 2022 and re-emerged above sea level. The activity at the volcano is fumarolic, releasing gas into the atmosphere up to 1 km (3 200 feet) above sea level. A Hazard Alert was issued to all marines to sail at least 5 km (3.1 miles) away from the volcano.

Copernicus EU/Sentinel-2 satellite confirmed the re-emergence on September 9, some 11 hours after the volcano started erupting. The volcano is located 25 km (15 miles) SW of Late Island, 22 km (13 miles) NE of Lateiki and 75 km (46 miles) NW of Mo’unga’one Island.1

Home Reef now forms a land area of about 0.40 ha (1 acre) a.s.l. with a diameter of 70 m (230 feet) and an estimated elevation of 10 m (33 feet) a.s.l.

home reef volcano september 9 2022 sentinel-2 bg
Home Reef volcano eruption on September 9, 2022. Credit: Copernicus EU/Sentinel-2, EO Browser, The Watchers (True Color)
home reef volcano september 9 2022 sentinel-2 false color
Home Reef volcano eruption on September 9, 2022. Credit: Copernicus EU/Sentinel-2, EO Browser, The Watchers (False Color)

A continuous trend of eruptive events is recorded by VOLCAT since the initial eruption on September 9.

While the volcano poses low risks to residents of Vava’u and Ha’aapai, mariners are advised to sail 5 km (3.1 miles) away from Home Reef (at Latitude 18.992°S, Longitude 174.775°W) until further notice.

There is no Hazard Alert to the Aviation Community.

home reef volcano september 9 2022 sentinel-2+ VOLCAT
Credit: Copernicus EU/Sentinel-2, VOLCAT
home reef volcano september 14 2022 himawari-8 + location reference
Credit: JMA/Himawari-8, Google, Tonga Geological Services/Government of Tonga
home reef volcano september 14 2022 hazard map
Credit: Tonga Geological Services/Government of Tonga

Geological summary

Home Reef, a submarine volcano midway between Metis Shoal and Late Island in the central Tonga islands, was first reported active in the mid-19th century when an ephemeral island formed.

An eruption in 1984 produced a 12 km (39 370 feet) high eruption plume, copious amounts of floating pumice, and an ephemeral island 500 x 1 500 m (1 640 x 4 900 feet) wide, with cliffs 30 – 50 m (98 – 164 feet) high that enclosed a water-filled crater.

Another island-forming eruption in 2006 produced widespread dacitic pumice rafts that reached as far as Australia.2

References:

1 Public notice on Home Reef volcano activity #1-3 – Volcano Watch Team of the Tonga Geological Services of the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources – September 2022

2 Home Reef – Geological summary – GVP

Featured image: Home Reef volcano eruption on September 9, 2022. Credit: Copernicus EU/Sentinel-2, EO Browser, The Watchers (True Color)

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