First Images Of Newly-Formed Volcanic Island In Tonga Emerge (VIDEO) - PassageMaker

First Images Of Newly-Formed Volcanic Island In Tonga Emerge (VIDEO)

A volcano eruption within the island nation of Tonga has left a beautiful new land mass in its wake. Get a first-hand glimpse of what could become their newest tourist attraction.
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A volcano eruption within the island nation of Tonga has left a beautiful new land mass in its wake.

The uninhabited island of Hunga Ha'apai, where the eruption took place this past December, is just 40 miles south-west of the main island of Tongatapu, where the nation's capitol resides.

The volcano reportedly threw an ash plume nearly 30,000 feet into the air and cancelled many international flights in that part of the world.

The new island is estimated to be about a 1/2 mile wide and just shy of a mile in length with a peak reaching over 800 feet in altitude.

An Italian-national named GP Orbassano, whom moved to Tonga some 20 years ago, recently visited the freshly-formed island to capture photos of the natural wonder.

"We had a beautiful view of the volcano, which inside is now full of green emerald water, smelling of sulphur and other chemicals," Orbassano told Radio Australia's Pacific Beat program of his trip to the island.

A pre-eruption satellite photo  (Pleiades © CNES 2015)

A pre-eruption satellite photo; the explosion occurred almost directly between the two islands pictured. (Pleiades © CNES 2015)

A post-eruption satellite photo shows the newly-formed island fused with Hunga Ha'apai.

A post-eruption satellite photo shows the newly-formed island fused with Hunga Ha'apai. (Pleiades © CNES 2015)

According to Orbassano, the soil on the climb was very fragile and continuously fell away beneath their feet. Some experts are speculating that the island will only exist a few months before it erodes back into the sea. However, Orbassano is expressing hopes the land mass will remain for longer and could even attract tourists to the area.

"It's going to be amazing for tourists to go on top, it's a really different experience and it's not so far away [from the capital]," Orbassano said. "This is a great location. It's not every day a new island appears in the middle of the ocean."

To see more images captured by Orbassano and his group scroll below or see the Australian ABC News posting, here.

 Looking up at the islands peak; said to be some 800 feet in altitude and according to Orbassano, easily scalable.

Looking up at the islands peak; said to be some 800 feet in altitude and according to Orbassano, easily scalable.

 An emerald colored lake formed within the blast radius still smells strongly of sulphur.

An emerald colored lake formed within the blast radius still smells strongly of sulphur.

 Two pre-existing islands flank the volcanic island on either side.

Two pre-existing islands flank the volcanic island on either side.

All photos by GP Orbassano, unless noted otherwise.

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