Volcanoes in Tonga

With 3 volcanoes in Tonga there have been a total of 4 significant eruptions over the past 200 years. The worst volcanic eruption in terms of deaths, destroyed houses and financial damages happened on 01/15/2022 with the eruption of "Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha'apai".

All five volcanoes in Tonga are still considered as active. Additionally there are four active submarine volcanoes.

Other natural hazards in Tonga:
Current volcanoes worldwide

Back to overview: Tonga

Tonga is located on the Pacific Ring of Fire, which stretches for about 40,000 km around the Pacific Ocean. Here the tectonic plate of the Pacific collides with several surrounding continental plates and seismic tremors occur again and again. Most of the world's volcanic eruptions, which are also the most severe, occur in this zone.

Significant volcanic eruptions in Tonga in the last 200 years

The following list shows all volcanic eruptions of the last 200 years with significant damage. The column "VEI" stands for the volcano explosivity index, which represents the strength of the eruption from a geological point of view. This takes into account the height and volume of the rocks ejected. The scale ranges from 0-8, with the severity of the eruption increasing tenfold with each value. For example, a VEI of 1 means that the volcano throws lava and rock masses of 100,000 to 1 million cubic meters up to 1 kilometer high. From VEI 8, a volcano is considered a super volcano. Here, more than 1,000 cubic kilometers of tephra are thrown to altitudes of more than 25 kilometers.

The highest explosivity index in Tonga reached in the review period was VEI 5 in 2022. The volcano Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha'apai threw tephramasses of at least 1 cubic kilometer over 25 kilometers high. Such a volcano normally only reaches this intensity every 50 years.

EruptionVolcanoVEIDeathsTotal damage
01/15/2022Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha'apai50

All volcanoes in Tonga

VolcanoElevationStatusLast eruption
Fonualei129 mActive
Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha'apai114 mActive01/15/2022
Leith Island518 mActive
Niuafo'ou260 mActive08/31/1886
Tofua Island506 mActive08/30/1892

These statistics are based on datas from the Smithsonian Institution's Global Volcanism Program (GVP), and the Significant Volcanic Eruptions Database of the National Geophysical Data Center (NOAA) / World Data Service (NGDC/WDS) doi:10.7289/V5JW8BSH. Several data have been summarized and translated.
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