Pilots Reportedly Spots New Volcanic Activity In Tonga

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Exact location of steam cloud in Vava‘u not confirmed

NUKU‘ALOFA, Tonga (Matangi Tonga, Feb. 11, 2015) – Volcanic activity with white steam coming out of an area about 20km southwest of Late Island in Vava’u was spotted by a Real Tonga Airline pilot on Monday, February 9.

The National Volcano Advisory Center of the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources today said the eruption had been occuring some 72km (40nmi) SW of Vava’u or about 20km SW of Late Island or 90km WSW from Neiafu.

The pilot who flew from Ha’apai to Vava’u at 3:16pm on February 9 spotted the white steam cloud going up to a height of 2000ft and drifting southwest.

"We have not confirmed the exact location of the plume but there has been no trace of rafts of pumice or other floating volcanic debris nor was there any strong smells of volcanic gases noticed."

This is the first report of the volcanic activity over Tonga based on collective information provided by the Tonga Meteorological Services, Tonga Airports Ltd and Real Tonga Airlines, with the content largely based on the pilot’s observation.

The Centre will issue their next report when more information becomes available.

Tonga has recently experienced a volcanic eruption near Hunga, Ha’apai last month, which created a tiny ash island.

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