Dramatic Pictures Emerge As local’s Explore Tonga’s New Island


Dramatic pictures have emerged as a small group of locals climbed onto the newly formed volcanic Island of Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha’apai.

Travelling with two friends, 63 year old Gianpiero Orbassano, who owns a hotel in Tonga, travelled to the island and said he was likely to make another trip soon.

“It’s really quite solid once you are on it and it’s quite high,” he said.

“It felt quite safe – the only difficult thing was getting out of the boat on to the island. The surface was hot, you could feel it. And climbing it was hard in the bright sun.”

“I don’t feel risk,” he said. “When I am doing this kind of thing, I’m focusing on my photographs. I don’t feel danger.”

Matt Watson, a reader in natural hazards at the University of Bristol, said the surface of the island was likely to be “highly unstable”.

“It will be very loose and unconsolidated material,” he said. “It’s formed by fragmentation of magma, so it’s basically small pieces of rock on top of each other that have formed an island.

“That’s also going to make it more vulnerable to the waves. It’s going to be battered by some of the waves and currents, particularly in Tonga.”

Dr Watson said he would be staying far from the volcano if he was in Tonga. “You would really have to strongly convince me, with strong scientific reasons, to go on it,” he added.

Source: http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-31848255