18 Mar 2009

New island might be emerging off Tonga

3:07 pm on 18 March 2009

It's possible that a new volcanic island has been

emerging in Tonga on the Western side of Tongatapu near the island of 'Atata.

Speaking to Radio Tonga News the government's Head Geologist Kelepi Mafi says this is the same vicinity where a volcanic island was formed in 2002 but it disappeared in a few weeks.

He says various earthquakes and aftershocks since Friday last week may have caused the eruption of this volcano underneath

the seabed.

Kelepi Mafi says the new island could grow up to 2 or 3 metres above the sea surface but it may depend on how strong the lava is in order for it resist waves and solidify into new land.

Divers and fishermen have been warned to stay clear of the area