Islands Volcanoes

Satellite Image Birth of Tinakula Island in South Pacific

birth of an island

EO-1 Satellite Image Birth of Tinakula Island, South Pacific

February 13, 2012

(Image credit: NASA)

Tinakula is a small, volcanic island in the South Pacific, located about 2,300 kilometers (1,400 miles) northeast of Brisbane, Australia. This natural-color satellite image (top) shows a plume of volcanic gas, possibly mixed with a bit of ash, rising above the island’s summit.

On February 13th and 14th, 2012, a small plume was apparent in visible imagery (lower image). Over the past decade satellites have detected intermittent “thermal anomalies” on the island that suggest eruptions have taken place, but eyewitness observations are infrequent.

Around the island, the reflection of sunlight on the ocean—sunglint—gives the surface a milky appearance that makes the wave patterns readily visible.

These images were collected by the Advanced Land Imager (ALI) on the Earth Observing-1 (EO-1) satellite (top) and MODIS on the Terra satellite on February 14, 2012.

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