2022 - Tonga post-eruption
NIWA is leading a voyage (TAN2206), between 9th April and 6th May 2022 to Hunga Tonga - Hunga Ha’apai (HT-HH) volcano within the Kingdom of Tonga.
Subsequent to a recent eruption at HT-HH, this voyage is intended to identify changes in the seafloor and allow the ongoing recovery of the seabed and associated ecosystems to be assessed.
The three main research themes were:
- Seafloor mapping
- Geological and ecological impacts from the eruption
- Eruption impacts on water column oceanography
Hunga Tonga - Hunga Ha’apai, one of 22 volcanoes in the waters around the Tonga, erupted violently on 15th January 2022. This eruption was the largest of three volcanic events in the last decade. Prior to the eruption the volcano caldera sat approximately 150 m below sea level and part of the volcano connected the islands of Hunga Tonga and Hunga Ha'apai making them a single landmass.
Following the eruption, no part of the volcano is now above water and the islands of Hunga Tonga and Hunga Ha'apai were reduced in size. It is expected similarly dramatic changes have occurred in the underwater topography. Submarine cable breakages show impacts up to 50 km from the volcano caldera, implying changes to the seabed over an area of at least 8,000 km2.
Check out these voyage updates:
Map of the course of RV Tangaroa taken during the TAN2206 voyage starting on 9 April 2022
Select anywhere on the red track to see position details and time as well as other vessel information. N.B. Dates and times are in Coordinated Universal Time (UTC). New Zealand Standard Time (NZST) is 12 hours ahead of UTC. Click on the ship icons for points of interest during the voyage.