Watch a Volcanic Eruption Create an Island in NASA Animation
New Orleans, LouisianaIn December 2014, an explosion rocked the Pacific kingdom of Tonga, and an undersea volcano belched out enough ash and rock to create a whole new island lined with cliffs some 400 feet tall.
Unofficially named Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha’apai, the new island wasn’t expected to last long. Similar volcanic islands usually erode away in a matter of months. But now, NASA scientists have announced far rosier estimates for the island’s lifespan, giving it between six and 30 years. The team unveiled their results today at the American Geophysical Union’s fall meeting in New Orleans.
Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha’apai was born from an undersea volcano that looms nearly a mile above the surrounding seafloor. When it erupted, hot magma