25 Mar 2015

New Tongan island 'will disappear'

8:21 am on 25 March 2015

A geologist says the recently-formed Tongan island between Hunga Tonga and Hunga Ha'apai will soon disappear.

A crater lake on Tonga's newest island.

A crater lake on Tonga's newest island. Photo: GP ORBASSANO

Speaking to Radio Tonga News, Taniela Kula, said the new island, formed by volcanic activity at the end of 2014 and into January this year, has not yet been named in case it sinks back into the sea.

He says that's what happened in the past to an island formed between Vava'u and Ha'apai, which was dubbed Jonah Lomu island.

He says the island contains loose minerals such as pyroclastic, which can easily be swept away by the waves.

Mr Kula says days after the volcanic eruption the island had already started to dissolve.

He also urged the public to keep their distance from the island because it's not safe.