Metis Shoal

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Metis Shoal, also known as Lateiki Island, is a volcanic island at the top of a submarine volcano in Tonga, located between the islands of Kao and Late. The current island formed in October 2019, when a smaller island disappeared after 24 years.


Several other islands are believed to have preceded Metis Shoal. One such island was reported in 1781 and subsequently eroded away, according to the Global Volcanism Program. Rocky reefs or sandy banks with depths of 10 metres or less were observed during periods of inactivity in the 20th century, and dacitic tuff cones formed during eruptions in 1967 and 1979. Both were soon eroded beneath the sea surface.[1]

1995–2019 island[edit]

During an eruption in 1995, a new island (latitude: 19.18°S, longitude: 174.8°W) appeared which had a diameter of 280 metre and a height of 43 metre following the growth of a lava dome above the surface. On 7 December 2006 the Royal New Zealand Air Force (RNZAF) flew over Metis Shoal and Home Reef at the request of volcanologists from the Institute of Geological & Nuclear Sciences (IGNS) to take photos of Metis Shoal.

Another eruption happened in October 2019. This eruption was first reported by Tongan vessel MV Ngutulei on the morning of 14 October 2019 and continued for more than two weeks. Photos were later taken by aircraft from Real Tonga and Air New Zealand, which showed that Metis Shoal had completely sunk.

New island[edit]

The Tonga Geological Service announced on 6 November 2019 that the eruption in October produced a new and bigger island, about 120 metres west of the island which disappeared. The new island was estimated to be 100 metres wide and 400 metres long, which is three times bigger when compared to the previous one.[2][3]

See also[edit]


External links[edit]

  • "Metis Shoal". Global Volcanism Program. Smithsonian Institution.

Coordinates: 19°10′59″S 174°52′01″W / 19.183°S 174.867°W / -19.183; -174.867