Friday, March 20, 2009

Underwater Volcano Erupts

Copyright Sky News UK.

Yesterday, March 19, 2009, scientists were trying to get closer to the site of an underwater eruption yesterday 34 nautical miles from the capital of Tonga.

Residents of Nuku’alofa awoke to plumes of volcanic smoke and/or steam which could be seen clearly on the northern horizon from the Nuku’alofa waterfront yesterday morning. Officials suspect these eruptions may be related to a quake which struck March 13, 2009. This quake was 4.4 in magnitude and struck about 35 km from Nuku’alofa at a depth of nearly 150 km.

The smoke was reported to the Ministry of the Tonga Defence Services as early as March 17 when the government geologist and staff of the Geological Division started making plans for a closer look. Finally, a patrol boat was secured on March 19, 2009.

Meanwhile, there was nothing much the Government geologist Kelepi Mafi could say until they got closer to the site and could assess "whether an island has emerged above the water or all these activities are still taking place under the water."

Despite equipment that can not differentiate between an earthquake and a volcanic eruption, Mafi is certain from their seismic chart and the smoke that was seen from Nuku’alofa, that this was an “underwater volcanic eruption.”

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I kept thinking, what if I were out in the ocean when this happened - what a shock that would be to have the water under you erupt and start spewing smoke!