A new island rises in the Pacific following an underwater explosion: science alert

It is called a submerged volcano Home Reef After a 16-year hibernation in the central Tonga Islands, a sardines pops its head out of the blue.

On 10 September 2022, lava and rock fragments began seeping into the sea 25 kilometers (15 miles) southwest of Lad Island.When steam and ash plumes erupt over the surface of the waves.

Debris slowly piled up on a new island, covering an area of ​​4,000 square meters (one acre), reaching a height of 10 meters (33 feet) within days.

Although it does not grow very tall, Tonga Geographical Services (TGS) officials on September 20 declared The island grew sixfold, expanding to 24,000 square meters.

Like a phoenix rising from the ashes, this unnamed structure will plunge back into the blazing ‘Ring of Fire’ of the Pacific Ocean, long before any mariner sets foot on its rocky shores.

The last time the Home Reef gave birth to a new island, in 2006, it took a year for ocean waves to erode its crest. At this time, the ridge is very narrow.

The 2006 event produced so much debris from the submerged Tonga volcano that an expansive sheet of foamy volcanic glass called pumice drifted across the South Pacific, giving the land an eerie appearance.

Footage of the raft can be seen below:

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Since 1852, the Home Reef has formed islands on five occasionsSome reach 50 to 70 meters in height. In 1984, even the island There was a small pool.

The sea mount responsible for these short-lived structures is located in a part of the Pacific Ocean. Tonga-Kermadec Sub-ZoneIt hosts the world’s fastest-converging tectonic plates.

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Here, the Pacific Plate is rapidly slipping under two other plates (Kermadec and Tonga) at a rate of about 24 centimeters (9 in) per year, creating the world’s second deepest trench and most active volcanic arc.

In fact, this long seafloor ridge that stretches from Tonga to New Zealand has the highest density of underwater volcanoes anywhere on Earth.

Satellite images of Hom Rip’s latest eruption capture its new island formation in stunning detail. The image below was released by NASA on September 14 using US Geological Survey data.

It shows not only the long trail of smoke, but also the intense discoloration of the surrounding sea.

A submerged volcano erupts to form a home reef. (Lauren Taupin/NASA Earth Observatory/USGS)

A follow-up image taken on September 18 using USGS data and shared by TGS on Facebook zooms in on the volcanic fallout, seen below.

Home Reef Explode 2022
The eruption that formed the Home Reef in September 2022. (USGS)

The water is cloudy, likely the result of superheated acidic seawater mixed with pieces of volcanic rock and debris. Latest press release From NASA.

“Volcano poses low risks to aviation community and residents of Vava’u and Ha’pai,” TGS declared On September 20.

“However, all mariners are advised to sail beyond 4 kilometers from the Home Reef until further notice.”

From September 25, there are No more sight Volcanic ash or steam from the Pacific. The home reef is over for now, and we can appreciate its latest gift to the ocean as best we can.

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