Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha'apai Volcano | John Seach



20.57 S, 175.38 W
summit elevation 149 m

The islands of Hunga Tonga and Hunga Ha'apai are located 64 km NNW of Nuku'alofa. The islands are 2 km apart and represent the subareal parts of a submerged caldera.

Hunga Tonga island has a summit elevation of 149 m and Hunga Ha'apai 128 m. A historically active vent is located 3.2 km SE of Hunga Ha'apai and 3 km south of Hunga Tonga.

2022 Eruption
A l arge eruption occurred on 15 Jan 2022. Ash plume to height of more than 60,000 ft. A small 30 cm high tsunami was recorded at Nuku'alofa, the capital of Tonga. The volcano was erupting in Dec 2021 but was declared dormant on 11 Jan 2022.The eruption produced a magnitude 4.0 earthquake, and had a Volcanic Explosivity Index (VEI) of possibly 4, which makes it statistically a one-in-one year event on Earth.

2021 Activity
In December 2021 strong steam emissions reached 40,000 ft altitude. No ash emission occurred.

2014-15 Eruption
Eruptions of Hunga Ha'apai undersea volcano began on 19 December 2014. Activity was reported by fisherman. A white plume was visuble from Kanokupolu coastline since 24 December. The eruption was Surtseyan, which involved shallow to emergent subaqueous explosive eruptions. The eruption style is named after the 19631964 eruption of Surtsey in Iceland.

2009 Eruption
An undersea eruption occurred west of the islands of Hunga Tonga and Hunga Ha'apai in Tonga. The eruption was visible from Nuku'alofa, the capital of Tonga. Steam and ash was emitted more than 1 km high. Residents said the steam and ash column first appeared on Monday morning, after a series of sharp earthquakes were felt in the capital, Nuku'alofa. The eruption lasted from 17-21 March 2009 and formed two subaerial tuff cones on the NW and S sides of Hunga Ha'apai.

1988 Eruption
An eruption was reported by fisherman on 1st June 1988 with emission of dense smoke. The eruption was continued in shallow water about 1 km SSE of Hunga Ha'apai. Lava erupted from three sources in a SW-NE trend extending 100-200 m.

Further reading
Hite, Emily B., et al. "Exploring the human-nature dynamics of Hunga Tonga Hunga Ha'apai, Earth's newest landmass." Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research 401 (2020): 106902.

Garvin, James B., et al. "Monitoring and Modeling the Rapid Evolution of Earth's Newest Volcanic Island: Hunga Tonga Hunga Ha'apai (Tonga) Using High Spatial Resolution Satellite Observations." Geophysical research letters 45.8 (2018): 3445-3452.

Colombier, M., et al. "Vesiculation and Quenching During Surtseyan Eruptions at Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha'apai Volcano, Tonga." Journal of Geophysical Research: Solid Earth 123.5 (2018): 3762-3779.

Bohnenstiehl, DelWayne R., et al. "Underwater acoustic records from the March 2009 eruption of Hunga Ha'apai-Hunga Tonga volcano in the Kingdom of Tonga." Journal of volcanology and geothermal research 249 (2013): 12-24.

Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha'apai Volcano Eruptions

2021-22, 2014-15, 2009, 1988, 1938, 1912