Pictures emerge of amazing Pacific island formed by underwater volcano

New island was visited by three people who photographed their trip - but it may soon disappear

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The Independent Online

Amazing photographs have emerged of a newly formed volcanic island in the Pacific Ocean – but admire them while you can because scientists claim it will soon disappear.

The island, located about 65 kilometres off Tonga’s main island of Tongatapu, began forming in January after the ash from the eruption of an underwater volcano accumulated in the sea.

Eventually, so much ash accumulated that the small island was formed. Tonga’s land and natural resources ministry have confirmed that the island is 800m wide and 1.3km long – but that it may not stay that size.

Photos emerged of the island after local hotel owner GP Orbassano, his friend and his son, visited the island on Saturday taking a series of amazing pictures.

But fellow tourists better get themselves over soon as scientists have warned the island may only be around for a few weeks.

Professor of volcanology at the University of Cambridge Clive Oppenheimer said the new island, formed first of ash and then lava, had survived the first test as similar ash islands are destroyed by waves as they form.

"But this has evidently been going on for a while, so is unlikely to disappear overnight," he told The Daily Telegraph.

The two islands prior to the volcano's eruption

Mr Orbasso, an Italian national who moved to Tongo more than 20 years ago, said when he heard about the island he had to photograph it.


"We had a beautiful view of the volcano, which inside is now full of green emerald water, smelling of sulphur and other chemicals," he told Radio Australia’s Pacific Beat.

"This was a great location. It's not every day a new island appears in the middle of the ocean,” he added.