Tofua Volcano (Tonga) High Thermal Anomalies

Significant developments are observed at Tofua Volcano (Tonga). While the lava pond/vents within the northern Lofia cone typically demonstrates persistent effusive eruptive activity, recent monitoring data indicates a series of high thermal anomalies (>200MW). Additionally, elevated levels of sulfur dioxide (SO2) have been detected, further supporting the intensified volcanic activity. The MODIS thermal signatures appeared to extend well beyond the confines of the active cone suggesting effusive activity outside the primary vent area and/or the development of new lava flows. However, satellite imagery (below) confirms that such activity appears to be confined within the Lofia cone.

Tofua volcano, situated in the Ha’apai group of the Kingdom of Tonga, is a geologically active stratovolcano. Rising to an elevation of 515 meters, the volcano is distinguished by its prominent caldera, which hosts a persistently active lava lake. This feature provides valuable insights into volcanic processes, including magma degassing and convective overturn within the magma chamber.

Historically, Tofua’s eruptions have been primarily effusive, producing lava flows of basaltic to andesitic composition. However, the volcano has also exhibited Strombolian activity, characterized by intermittent, moderately explosive eruptions.


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