Home Reef 2006 eruption


A new island has been built by the August 9 eruption of Home Reef submarine volcano (Central Tonga) . Detailed information about this eruption can be found in the Bulletin of Global Volcanism Network, Vol. 31-9, September 2006.


Below are the first satellite pictures of the new island


ASTER image of October 4, 2006 (21:59UT) showing the new island located at 18.99°S and 174.77°W. Simulated natural colour from VNIR bands (1-3).


ASTER VNIR 3-2-1 showing an hydrothermal activity (?) around the new island. Island dimensions are 800X400 meters. Small volcanic lakes are clearly visible within the island.


October 4 (2006) ASTER thermal image processed with the SW algorithm. The hot spot visible on the island is a hot lake with a maximum temperature of 64.7°C. A thermal plume adjacent to the island is also visible (but could be also due to solar heating on a floating pumice layer, this need to be confirmed with a night scene).
Night scene of ASTER processed with SW algorithm and a slight interpolation. The thermal bands (TIR) show a hot spot centered on the new island. Maximum temperature observed is 57.9°C. October 28, 2006 at 10:16 UT. AST_04_00310282006101633.hdf.



ASTER image of November 12, 2006 at 22:05 UT shows the result of fast erosion processes in reducing the size of the new island.
The thermal bands were unfortunatley not recorded for this scene. The hot ponds are not visible anymore.
Orthorectified ASTER images. Island area decreased from 0.230km2 (Oct.4) to 0.146km2 (Nov.12).


14 November 2006 ASTER TIR image. Most probably the last satellite view of the ephemeral island (red pixels) in the middle of clouds (low temperature, black pixels), the warm ocean is in blue.



Royal New Zealand Air Force view of the new island still visible on December 8, 2006.

Institute of Geological & Nuclear Sciences, GNS (New Zealand)

GeoNet (New Zealand)




MODIS satellite has also the capability to detect floating pumice rafts and can be a valuable tool for monitoring volcanic activity in this remote area because of its frequent overpass.





ASTER satellite data courtesy of NASA, USA.

ASTER data are distributed by the Land Processes Distributed Active Archive Center (LP DAAC), located at the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) Center for Earth Resources Observation and Science (EROS) http://LPDAAC.usgs.gov

Satellite images processing and page editor: Alain Bernard.


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Université Libre de Bruxelles. Last modification: 22 December 2006.

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