March 2015 – TONGA – Constant eruptions from an underwater volcano in the South Pacific Ocean starting in December created a new island over the last few months. Twenty five miles from Tonga, a nearby island nation, the freshly-made island won’t last for too long, scientists say. As the BBC reports, the 1,640-foot-long island formed from ash spewed by Hunga Tonga, an underwater volcano that last erupted five years ago.
Matt Watson, a professor at the University of Bristol, says the new land is unstable and vulnerable to waves and ocean currents. “It’s formed by fragmentation of magma, so it’s basically small pieces of rock on top of each other that have formed an island,” Watson told the BBC. Despite the land’s instability, Tonga resident GP Orbassano took a trip to the new island to capture the photos below. Orbassano walked around the island and saw its crater, and told NBC News that the earth was still hot weeks after solidifying. –Weather