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Tonga’s volcano island no longer exists

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The island of the Hunga-Tonga-Hunga-Ha’apai volcano, which erupted violently on January 15 and produced a massive mushroom of steam, gas, and ash, has nearly vanished.

This area of ​​the landmass in the middle of Polynesia, created by an eruption in December 2005, no longer exists, as can be seen by comparing an image taken by the EU’s Sentinel 2 satellite on January 2, with another from Sentinel 1 taken 12 hours after the large eruption , when the cloud had dissipated enough to observe the area from space.

Located about 45 kilometers northwest of Tonga’s capital Nuku’alofa and measuring 500 meters in length , the island took shape between two islands formerly formed by the underwater volcano Hunga Tonga after it erupted in December 2015.

In the new images, only vestiges of those two initial islands remain. The island was mainly formed by the accumulation of fragmented magmatic rock .

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