15:32 GMT +315 November 2019
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    Tongan volcano

    Photos: Underwater Eruption Near Tonga Forms New Pacific Island, Submerges Another - Report

    © AFP 2019 / Matangi Tonga / Mary Lyn Fonua
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    The 'old' Lateiki Island, which first formed due to volcanic activity in 1995, is now submerged, and a new and bigger one - which is about 328 feet (100 meters) wide and 1,312 feet (400 meters) long - formed last month between 13 and 31 October, geologists reported.

    Satellite images released earlier this week depict the gradual emergence of the new Lateiki Island, which is 3 times bigger than the original one. According media outlet Matangi Tonga, the latest eruption was first reported to the Tonga Meteorological Services (TMS) at Fua’amotu on the morning of 14 October by the Tongan vessel MV Ngutulei.

    ​The media outlet said that further reports and data on the 'growing' new volcanic island were made with the assistance of New Zealand aircraft.

    The Kingdom of Tonga is an archipelago of about 170 islands in the South Pacific Ocean, located in a seismically active zone known as the Ring of Fire that regularly suffers from powerful earthquakes and volcanic eruptions.

    Before last month, the most recent emergence of an island in Tonga was registered in 2015. An undersea volcanic eruption, which reportedly lasted for about a month and disrupted local air traffic, created a new island measuring about 1.8 kilometers (1.1 miles) by 1.5 kilometers (0.9 miles).

    New islands can emerge as a result of various natural mechanisms such as erosion, volcanic eruption or glacial retreat. One of the most prominent volcanic islands is the island of Surtsey, located off the southern coast of Iceland. Surtsey emerged in 1963, also as a result of an undersea volcanic eruption.

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    eruption, Volcano, island, Tonga
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