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Posts Tagged ‘volcano cluster’

Hunga Ha’apai Volcano Update

Posted by feww on March 22, 2009

Another reminder that volcanic eruptions can destroy everything around them

Hunga Ha’apai eruption “has destroyed rich birdlife and vegetation, leaving a wasteland of black ash and tree stumps,” eyewitness reports say.

Groups of  people who have traveled to the volcanic site described frequent explosions that ejected rocks and ash and spewed smoke hundreds of meters into the air, AFP reported.

Ash rises several hundred meters into the air from Hunga Ha’apai, 62km north-northwest of the Tongan capital Nuku’alofa. [Undated photo, possibly taken on Mar 20 or 21, 2009.] Photograph: AFP. Image may be subject to copyright.

The volcano, which is located on the small islet of  Hunga Ha’apai, about 62km km north- northwest of the Tongan capital Island of Nuku’alofa, began erupting on March 16, 2009, and  continued to ash, volcanic gasses and rocks into the air.

A journalist visiting the Island said: “The island itself is totally destroyed …  there is no living thing left there, it’s all covered in black ash.”

“There are only black stumps where the coconut trees were,” he added. “We saw dead birds and fish in the water.”

According to Tonga’s chief geologist, Kelepi Mafi, who reportedly inspected the area on Thursday, the volcanic debris ejected from the volcano filled the 100 m gap between the offshore vent and  the main vent on Hunga Ha’apai, adding hundreds of square meters to the islet’s land mass.

Mafi reiterated that the government has warned sightseers to stay away from the area, which is very dangerous.

“It’s very interesting, but it’s very risky also,” he said, adding that he expected the eruption to continue for another couple of days.

However, given the renewed seismic activity in the area, and other factors not discussed here, FEWW believes one or more of the following scenarios may likely occur:

1. Eruption could continue for many days (up to several weeks).
2. Hunga Ha’apai’s activity could become sporadic, with extended ‘off’ and ‘on’ periods, lasting for several months (up to a year or so).
3. One or more of volcanoes in the region’s volcanic cluster could erupt.

Related Links:

An earthquake forecast for California will be published here by Tuesday March 24, 2009.

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