Sea-Floor Sunday #43: Regional context for Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha’apai volcano
Sorry for the lack of posts lately … to be perfectly honest, I’m in a blogging slump of late. Life is catching up with me and I simply haven’t found the time to finish up some posts. But don’t fret … I have numerous posts in ‘draft’ stage waiting to be finished.
This week’s Sea-Floor Sunday shows some regional bathymetric images for the recent eruption of Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha’apai* volcano along the Tonga volcanic arc. Check out coverage at both Eruptions and The Volcanism Blog for all the details and plenty of links to even more details.
The first image is from GoogleEarth and zoomed way out to give you global context.
Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha’apai is toward the northern end of a subduction zone extending some 3,000 km south through the Kermadec arc and then the north island of New Zealand.
The next image below (from here) zooms in a bit more and has a different color scale (note: for scale, Fiji is about 700 km from Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha’apai on this map).
The Pacific Plate is subducting westward underneath the Australian plate creating this oceanic volcanic arc (check out this slick visualization of the deep seismic data showing the subducting slab). Bathymetry data is absolutely critical for understanding oceanic arc systems becase the vast majority of the area of these prominent features is underwater.
Have a nice Sunday!
* I am glad I’m writing that and not attempting to pronounce it