Active volcanoes / Aktive vulkaner:
Home Reef, Tonga, Pacific Ocean


Volcano Number: 0403-08
Last Known Eruption: 2006

Summit Elevation: -10 m

Latitude: 18.992°S  18.992°S
Longitude: 174.775°W 174°46'30"W

A partially eroded pumice cone formed during an eruption that began on August 7, 2006, is seen from the
north on December 18. By the end of the year wave erosion had destroyed the cone.
Floating dacitic pumice from this eruption traveled as far as Australia. Home Reef, a submarine volcano midway between Metis Shoal and Late Island in the central Tonga islands, was first reported active in the mid-19th century, when an ephemeral island formed. Eruptions in 1984 and 2006 also formed islands.
Photo courtesy of Royal New Zealand Air Force and Institute of Geological & Nuclear Sciences, 2006/GVN.

Home Reef, a submarine volcano midway between Metis Shoal and Late Island in the central Tonga islands, was first reported active in the mid-19th century, when an ephemeral island formed.

An eruption of Home Reef in the Tonga Islands in March 23rd, 1984 produced an island with an
estimated size of 500 x 1500 m and a height of 30-50 m.
A plume to 12 km height was reported during the March 1-5 eruption, and large amounts of
floating pumice were later encountered by passing ships.
Photo by P.J.R. Shepherd (Royal New Zealand Air Force; courtesy of John Latter, DSIR, published in SEAN Bull., 1984).

An eruption in 1984 produced a 12-km-high eruption plume, copious amounts of floating pumice, and an ephemeral island 500 x 1500 m wide, with cliffs 30-50 m high that enclosed a water-filled crater.

An eruption in the vicinity of Home Reef was reported on 2 March at 1107. Intense submarine activity ejected a plume
to an altitude estimated by an airline pilot at more than 7.5 km. A surface layer, probably pumice, extended 60 km to the
NE and was 20-30 km wide, enveloping Late Island (25-30 km to the NE). Surface discoloration of the sea covered
a larger area. Another report at about the same time described a pumice raft of the same dimensions drifting SW.

Before the eruption had ended, by 5 March at 1030, two small islands had formed with a maximum elevation of about
20 m, enclosing a crater about 1,500 x 500 m. Island-forming eruptions of Home Reef occurred in 1852 and perhaps in 1857.

Steam clouds rise above a new island being built by the eruption at Home Reef as seen from
the east about 2.8 km away on August 12, 2006. The island at this time was ~1.5 km in diameter.
The eruption began on August 7 and lasted until about the 16th.
Widespread pumice rafts reached Fiji and as far as Australia.

Photo by Fredrik Fransson, 2006/GVN.

Another island-forming eruption in 2006 produced widespread dacitic pumice rafts that reached as far as Australia.

Pumice rafts drifting from Tonga to Fiji occurred during August-October 2006. The source of these pumice rafts was Home Reef, which was first observed to be in eruption on 9 August and was clearly building an island by 12 August

This is such a incredible coincidence to be able to actually see this in the expanse of the Pacific Ocean!
The yacht 'Maiken' is traveling in the south Pacific when they came across a weird sight...
It was sand in the water and floating ON TOP of the waves... This is not a beach, it is volcanic stones
floating on the water. And then this was spotted... ash and steam rising from the ocean...
And, while they were watching... A brand new island formed... Pretty wild, huh?

The yacht Maiken left Neiafu on 11 August, passing the N side of Late Island. After about 9 km the crew noticed brown, somewhat grainy streaks in the water. The streaks became larger and more frequent as they continued SW "until the whole horizon was a solid line to what looked like a desert."

An eruption from Home Reef in early August generated large volumes of pumice that floated to Fiji (over 700 km away)
in the following two months; an island was also created (BGVN 31:09). Satellite data and imagery have been used to
confirm these observations and provide additional information about this event

The island built by the eruption from Home Reef in early August was directly observed on 14 November and 7 December.

The summit of the volcano on 20 November, 2008, was 9-10 m below sea level, forming a relatively smooth-topped
summit region approximately 500 x 500 m in area



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