Home Reef

Home Reef
Aster simulated natural-color image. The two bluish plumes are hot seawater laden with volcanic ash and chemicals. The plumes can be traced for almost 15 km (9.3 mi) to the east.
Home Reef is located in Tonga
Home Reef
Home Reef is located between Metis Shoal and Late Island, Tonga
Summit depth−10 m (−33 ft)[1]
LocationHome Reef is located between Metis Shoal and Late Island, Tonga
Coordinates18°59′28″S 174°45′47″W / 18.99111°S 174.76306°W / -18.99111; -174.76306
Last eruptionSeptember 2022

Home Reef is a volcanic island atop a submarine volcano in Tonga. It is located southwest of Vava'u, between the islands of Kao and Late along the Tofua volcanic arc. The island is ephemeral, and has been repeatedly built and eroded by successive eruptions in 1852, 1857, 1984, 2006, and 2022.

An eruption in 1984 built a small, temporary island 1,500 by 500 metres (4,900 ft × 1,600 ft), as well as pumice rafts which washed up as far away as Fiji and Australia.[2] The island washed away within a few months.[3]

Dacite pumice (2006 eruption; collected at a beach in northern Fiji Islands)

After a volcanic eruption started on 8 August 2006, Home Reef emerged as an island; that eruption also spewed into Tongan waters large amounts of floating pumice, which swept across to Fiji about 350 km (220 mi) to the west of the new island.[4] In October 2006, it reached almost the same size as it did in 1984, when it was about 0.5 km × 1.5 km (0.3 by 0.9 miles). The island was first seen by the crew of a yacht, who recorded its emergence in their blog.[3][5] The eruptions produced extensive rafts of pumice, which drifted northeast from the new island. The pumice rafts and new island were imaged by the Aqua satellite in August 2006.[6] Images also revealed several small hot crater lakes on the newly formed island.[2]

A satellite image of the 2022 eruption.

The volcano erupted again in September 2022.[7] Eruptions began on 10 September, and by 17 September had built an island with an area of 6 acres (2.4 ha) and an elevation of 10 metres (33 ft) above sea level.[7][8] On 20 September the Tonga Geological Services warned of ash to a height of 3 kilometres (1.9 mi), drifting up to 50 kilometres (31 mi) northwards and 70 kilometres (43 mi) eastwards.[9] On 23 September 2022 the island was reported to have grown to 8 acres (3.2 ha) in size,[10] estimated at 8.6 acres (3.5 ha) the following day.[11] On 25 September, the island had an elevation of 15 metres (49 ft) above sea level.[12] By 3 October it had grown to 15 acres (6.1 ha) in size.[13] The eruption ended on 17 October.[14]

See also


  1. ^ "Home Reef". Global Volcanism Program. Smithsonian Institution. Retrieved 2017-02-28.
  2. ^ a b Vaughan, R. Greg; Abrams, Michael; Hook, Simon J.; Pieri, David (2007). "Satellite Observations of New Volcanic Island in Tonga". Eos, Transactions American Geophysical Union. 88 (4): 37, 41. Bibcode:2007EOSTr..88...37V. doi:10.1029/2007EO040002.
  3. ^ a b Anna Keating (March 2007). "Tonga's ephemeral island". New Zealand Geographic. No. 84. Retrieved 17 September 2022.
  4. ^ "Home Reef Reborn". NASA. 24 May 2008. Retrieved 17 September 2022.
  5. ^ "Stone sea and volcano". Fredrik and Crew on Maiken. Blogger. 2006-08-17. Retrieved 2006-11-28.
  6. ^ "NASA Earth Observatory". Archived from the original on 17 November 2006.
  7. ^ a b "Home Reef Volcanic activity increasing as island re-emerges". Matangi Tonga. 17 September 2022. Retrieved 17 September 2022.
  8. ^ Joshua Hawkins (22 September 2022). "NASA's Earth Observatory spots newly birthed island in the Pacific". BGR. Retrieved 24 September 2022.
  9. ^ "Home Reef Volcano new ash eruption low risk to Vava'u and Ha'apai". Matangi Tonga. 20 September 2022. Retrieved 20 September 2022.
  10. ^ "Volcanic Tongan island keeps on growing". RNZ. 23 September 2022. Retrieved 23 September 2022.
  11. ^ Hernandez, Joe (25 September 2022). "A new island has emerged out of the Pacific Ocean, but it may soon disappear". NPR. Retrieved 25 September 2022.
  12. ^ Ella Morgan (25 September 2022). "New island emerges from the ocean after underwater eruption near Tonga". Stuff. Retrieved 25 September 2022.
  13. ^ "Home Reef volcano activity non-threatening says Tonga's Geological Services". RNZ. 3 October 2022. Retrieved 3 October 2022.
  14. ^ "Hazard zone lifted but landing prohibited on Home Reef island". Matangi Tonga. 22 October 2022. Retrieved 22 October 2022.
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