New is­land emerges from the deep

Paradise - - Departure Lounge -

These are some of the first pho­tos of a newly formed is­land at Tonga that has risen from the sea fol­low­ing an un­der­wa­ter vol­canic erup­tion. The pho­tog­ra­pher, Gian­piero Or­bas­sano, says the sur­face of the is­land is frag­ile and slip­pery, and when he vis­ited it was very hot. But he has pre­dicted that the is­land, a two-hour boat ride from Tonga’s cap­i­tal Nuku’alofa, will be­come a “great at­trac­tion for tourists”.

The is­land is about 250-me­tres high and has a land mass 1.8 kilo­me­tres by 1.5 kilo­me­tres, ac­cord­ing to some re­ports.

It ap­peared in Jan­uary af­ter the Hunga Tonga vol­cano erupted and has be­come the 177th is­land in the Tonga ar­chi­pel­ago.

But sci­en­tists have cau­tioned that it may even­tu­ally erode back into the sea and may not last more than sev­eral months.

They have also cau­tioned against vis­it­ing, say­ing the sur­face is not sta­ble and that fur­ther vol­canic ac­tiv­ity may take place.

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