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Submarine Eruption in the Tonga Islands
This page contains archived content and is no longer being updated. At the time of publication, it represented the best available science. However, more recent observations and studies may have rendered some content obsolete.
By March 20, 2009, activity had slowed at the site of an undersea eruption in the Tonga Islands. A report relayed by the Volcanism Blog indicated that eruptions had stopped although haze lingered over the region.
The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Aqua satellite took this picture the same day. In this image, the eruption site, which had been a bright area of blue-green two days before, is barely discernible. Over the eruption site, a white puff appears, but the puff might be a passing cloud.
Volcanologists identified the eruption site as Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha’apai. Hunga Tonga and Hunga Ha’apai are actually two small islands capping an underwater mountain. Previous volcanic eruptions at this site occurred in 1912 and 1937.