A tiny island in the Pacific is born ... but it probably won’t be around for long

An eruption off Tonga has created a tiny island in the Pacific.
An eruption off Tonga has created a tiny island in the Pacific.(NASA Earth Observatory)
Published: Sep. 23, 2022 at 2:05 PM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - There’s a tiny new island in the Pacific, but don’t plan your visit just yet.

Scientists say it’s not expected to be around for very long.

The island is the product of an eruption of the Home Reef seamount in the Central Tonga Islands.

And on Sept. 14, shortly after the island was born, a satellite snapped a photo of it along with large plumes of what’s believed to be superheated acidic seawater, volcanic rock fragments and sulfur.

That day, researchers with Tonga Geological Services estimated the area of the island to be about an acre.

By Sept. 20, the island covered about 6 acres.

NASA’s Earth Observatory said the new island is located northeast of Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha’apai, an active undersea volcano whose explosive eruption in January was so big it could be seen from space.

Scientists say islands formed by submarine volcanoes are typically short-lived.

But some do stick around for a while longer. A 12-day eruption of Late’iki Volcano in 2020 created an island that washed away in two months. Other eruptions have created islands with cliffs up to 70 meters high.