Volcanic eruptions

NIWA studies marine geological hazards, including earthquakes, submarine landslides and tsunami, volcanic eruptions, seafloor scour, sediment transport and shallow gas.

  • Tonga eruption and tsunami shock the world

    The Hunga-Tonga Hunga-Ha'apai (HT-HH) volcano was like a massive shotgun blast from the deep, generating the biggest atmospheric explosion recorded on Earth in more than 100 years.
  • Comprehensive eruption study highlights need for further work

    Media release
    A new study has comprehensively mapped the immediate after effects of the January 2022 eruption of Hunga Tonga - Hunga Ha’apai, highlighting the risks of similar events.
  • Tonga eruption caused fastest ever underwater flow

    Media release
    The 2022 Tonga volcanic eruption triggered the fastest underwater flow ever recorded.
  • Making big waves in the Pacific

    Feature story
    Prior to 15 January, Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha'apai was a little-known undersea South Pacific volcano with a long name. Within 24 hours, it  was a global phenomenon – the site of the largest atmospheric explosion in almost 150 years. Jessica Rowley looks at why a remote Tongan volcano took the world by storm.
  • Tonga eruption confirmed as largest ever recorded

    Media release
    A New Zealand-led team has completed the fullest investigation to date into January’s eruption of the underwater Tongan volcano.
  • High UV prompts SunSmart warnings

    Media release
    Experts are warning Kiwis to be extra cautious this summer, with ultraviolet (UV) radiation levels averaging higher compared to 2021.
  • 2020 Australian wildfires reveal significant hole in our understanding of ozone

    Media release
    Smoke from the devastating Australian wildfires impacted the atmosphere in a way that’s never been seen before.
  • Seen a stunning sunrise or sunset lately? The Tongan volcano may be the cause

    Media release
    The Tongan volcanic eruption may be responsible for New Zealand’s unusually vibrant sunrises and sunsets, say NIWA scientists.
  • Tracking an eruption

    Feature story
    Stacy Mohan looks at how the shockwaves from a remote Tongan island rippled through NIWA’s research community.
  • Tonga eruption discoveries defy expectations

    Media release
    New findings from the record-breaking Tongan volcanic eruption are “surprising and unexpected”, say scientists from New Zealand’s National Institute for Water and Atmospheric Research (NIWA).
  • The instruments at work - In the volcano's wake

    Our team onboard RV Tangaroa are equipped with all the tech and tools they need to explore the undersea changes caused by the devastating volcanic eruption in Tonga earlier this year.
  • Mapping the Tongan eruption

    The January eruption of the Tongan volcano Hunga Tonga – Hunga Ha’apai triggered tsunamis as far away as the Caribbean. NIWA scientists are onboard RV Tangaroa surveying the ocean around the volcano, working to understand the largest eruption of its kind since 1981 so they can help increase our knowledge about similar volcanoes around the world.