List of volcanoes in Tonga

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This is a list of active and extinct volcanoes in Tonga.

NameElevation [1] LocationLast eruption
ʻAta 382 m (1,253 ft) 22°09′S176°11′W / 22.15°S 176.18°W / -22.15; -176.18 (ʻAta) -
Curacoa −33 m (−108 ft) 15°37′S173°40′W / 15.62°S 173.67°W / -15.62; -173.67 (Curacoa) 1979
Fonua foʻou −17 m (−56 ft) 20°19′S175°25′W / 20.32°S 175.42°W / -20.32; -175.42 (Fanua foʻou) 1936
Fonualei 180 m (591 ft) 18°01′12″S174°19′30″W / 18.02°S 174.325°W / -18.02; -174.325 (Fonualei) 1957
Home Reef −10 m (−33 ft) 18°59′31″S174°46′30″W / 18.992°S 174.775°W / -18.992; -174.775 (Home Reef) 2006
Hunga Tonga-Hunga Haʻapai 114 m (374 ft) 20°34′S175°23′W / 20.57°S 175.38°W / -20.57; -175.38 (Hunga Tonga-Hunga Haʻapai) 2015
Kao 1,030 m (3,379 ft) 19°40′S175°02′W / 19.67°S 175.03°W / -19.67; -175.03 (Kao) Holocene
Late 540 m (1,772 ft) 18°48′22″S174°39′00″W / 18.806°S 174.65°W / -18.806; -174.65 (Late) 1854
Metis Shoal 43 m (141 ft) 19°11′S174°52′W / 19.18°S 174.87°W / -19.18; -174.87 (Metis Shoal) 1995
Niuafoʻou 260 m (853 ft) 15°36′S175°38′W / 15.60°S 175.63°W / -15.60; -175.63 (Niuafoʻou) 1985
Niuatoputapu [2] 157 m (515 ft) 15°58′S173°44′W / 15.96°S 173.74°W / -15.96; -173.74 (Niuatoputapu) 3 million years ago
Tafahi 560 m (1,837 ft) 15°51′S173°43′W / 15.85°S 173.72°W / -15.85; -173.72 (Tafahi) Holocene
Tofua 515 m (1,690 ft) 19°45′S175°04′W / 19.75°S 175.07°W / -19.75; -175.07 (Tofua) 1960
Unnamed (1)−13 m (−43 ft) 20°51′S175°32′W / 20.85°S 175.53°W / -20.85; -175.53 1999
Unnamed (2)−500 m (−1,640 ft) 21°23′S175°39′W / 21.38°S 175.65°W / -21.38; -175.65 1932
Unnamed (3)−40 m (−131 ft) 18°19′30″S174°21′54″W / 18.325°S 174.365°W / -18.325; -174.365 2001

Related Research Articles

Supervolcano Volcano that has erupted 1000 cubic km in a single eruption

A supervolcano is a large volcano that has had an eruption with a Volcanic Explosivity Index (VEI) of 8, the largest recorded value on the index. This means the volume of deposits for that eruption is greater than 1,000 cubic kilometers.

Basalt A magnesium- and iron-rich extrusive igneous rock

Basalt is a fine-grained extrusive igneous rock formed from the rapid cooling of low-viscosity lava rich in magnesium and iron exposed at or very near the surface of a rocky planet or a moon. More than 90% of all volcanic rock on Earth is basalt. Rapid-cooling, fine-grained basalt is chemically equivalent to slow-cooling, coarse-grained gabbro. The eruption of basalt lava is observed by geologists at about 20 volcanoes per year. Basalt is also an important rock type on other planetary bodies in the Solar System; for example, the bulk of the plains of Venus, which cover ∼80% of the surface, are basaltic, the lunar maria are plains of flood basaltic lava flows, and basalt is a common rock on the surface of Mars.

Rhyolite An igneous, volcanic rock, of felsic (silica-rich) composition

Rhyolite is the most silica-rich of volcanic rocks. It is generally glassy or fine-grained (aphanitic) in texture, but may be porphyritic, containing larger mineral crystals (phenocrysts) in an otherwise fine-grained rock. The mineral assemblage is predominantly quartz, sanidine and plagioclase. It is the extrusive equivalent to granite.

Convergent boundary Region of active deformation between colliding tectonic plates

A convergent boundary is an area on Earth where two or more lithospheric plates collide. One plate eventually slides beneath the other, a process known as subduction. The subduction zone can be defined by a plane where many earthquakes occur, called the Wadati–Benioff zone. These collisions happen on scales of millions to tens of millions of years and can lead to volcanism, earthquakes, orogenesis, destruction of lithosphere, and deformation. Convergent boundaries occur between oceanic-oceanic lithosphere, oceanic-continental lithosphere, and continental-continental lithosphere. The geologic features related to convergent boundaries vary depending on crust types.

Taupo Volcanic Zone Active volcanic zone in New Zealand

The Taupō Volcanic Zone (TVZ) is a volcanic area in the North Island of New Zealand that has been active for the past two million years and is still highly active. Mount Ruapehu marks its south-western end and the zone runs north-eastward through the Taupo and Rotorua areas and offshore into the Bay of Plenty. It is part of the larger Central Volcanic Region that extends further westward through the western Bay of Plenty to the eastern side of the Coromandel Peninsula and has been active for four million years. The Taupo Volcanic Zone is widening east–west at the rate of about 8 mm per year. It is named after Lake Taupo, the flooded caldera of the largest volcano in the zone, the Taupo Volcano.

Dacite Volcanic rock intermediate in composition between andesite and rhyolite

Dacite is a volcanic rock formed by rapid solidification of lava that is high in silica and low in alkali metal oxides. It has a fine-grained (aphanitic) to porphyritic texture and is intermediate in composition between andesite and rhyolite. It is composed predominantly of plagioclase feldspar and quartz.

Tonga Trench An oceanic trench in the southwestern Pacific Ocean

The Tonga Trench is an oceanic trench located in the southwestern Pacific Ocean. It is the deepest trench in the Southern hemisphere and the second deepest on Earth. The fastest plate-tectonic velocity on Earth is occurring at this location, as the Pacific Plate is being subducted westward in the trench.

Sunda Arc A volcanic arc

The Sunda Arc is a volcanic arc that produced the volcanoes that form the topographic spine of the islands of Sumatra, Nusa Tenggara, and Java, the Sunda Strait and the Lesser Sunda Islands. The Sunda Arc begins at Sumatra and ends at Flores, and is adjacent to the Banda Arc. The Sunda Arc is formed via the subduction of the Indo-Australian Plate beneath the Sunda and Burma plates at a velocity of 63–70 mm/year.

Boninite is a mafic extrusive rock high in both magnesium and silica, thought to be usually formed in fore-arc environments, typically during the early stages of subduction. The rock is named for its occurrence in the Izu-Bonin arc south of Japan. It is characterized by extreme depletion in incompatible trace elements that are not fluid mobile but variable enrichment in the fluid mobile elements. They are found almost exclusively in the fore-arc of primitive island arcs and in ophiolite complexes thought to represent former fore-arc settings or at least formed above a subduction zone.

Back-arc basin Submarine features associated with island arcs and subduction zones

Back-arc basins are geologic basins, submarine features associated with island arcs and subduction zones. They are found at some convergent plate boundaries, presently concentrated in the western Pacific Ocean. Most of them result from tensional forces caused by oceanic trench rollback and the collapse of the edge of the continent. The arc crust is under extension or rifting as a result of the sinking of the subducting slab. Back-arc basins were initially a surprising result for plate tectonics theorists, who expected convergent boundaries to be zones of compression, rather than major extension. However, they are now recognized as consistent with this model in explaining how the interior of Earth loses heat.

Basaltic andesite

Basaltic andesite is a volcanic rock that is intermediate in composition between basalt and andesite. It is composed predominantly of augite and plagioclase. Basaltic andesite can be found in volcanoes around the world, including in Central America and the Andes of South America.

Lau Basin

The Lau Basin is a back-arc basin at the Australian-Pacific plate boundary. It is formed by the Pacific plate subducting under the Australian plate. The Tonga-Kermadec Ridge, a frontal arc, and the Lau-Colville Ridge, a remnant arc, sit to the eastern and western sides of the basin, respectively.

Luzon Volcanic Arc

The Luzon Volcanic Arc is a chain of volcanoes in a north–south line across the Luzon Strait from Taiwan to Luzon. The name "Luzon Volcanic Arc" was first proposed by Carl Bowin et al. to describe a series of Miocene to recent volcanoes due to eastward subduction along the Manila Trench for approximately 1,200 km from the Coastal Range in Taiwan south to southern Mindoro in the Philippines. Islands that form part of the arc are the Eastern Coastal Range of Taiwan, Green Island, Taiwan, Orchid Island, Kaotai Rock, Mavudis or Y'ami Island, Mabudis, Siayan Island, Itbayat Island, Diogo Island, Batan Island, Unnamed volcano Ibuhos, Sabtang Island, Babuyan, Didicas, Camiguin Island. At the south end it terminates on Luzon. The geochemistry of a number of volcanoes along the arc have been measured. There are five distinct geochemical domains within the arc. The geochemistry of the segments verified that the volcanoes are all subduction related. Isotopes and trace elements show unique geochemical characteristics in the north. Geochemical variations northward were due to the subduction of sediments derived from the erosion of continental crust from China and Taiwan.

Terry Plank Geologist and volcanologist

Terry Ann Plank is an American geochemist, volcanologist and professor of earth science at Columbia College, Columbia University, and the Lamont Doherty Earth Observatory. She is a 2012 MacArthur Fellow and member of the National Academy of Sciences. Her most prominent work involves the crystal chemistry of lava minerals in order to determine magma ages and movement, giving clues to how quickly magma can surface as lava in volcanoes. Most notably, Plank is known for her work establishing a stronger link between the subduction of ocean sediments and volcanism at ocean arcs. Her current work can be seen at her website.
Plank states that her interest in volcanoes began when her Dartmouth professor took her and other students to Arenal volcano in Costa Rica. He had them sit and have lunch while on top of a slow-moving lava flow and while watching bright red goops of lava crack out from their black casings. "It was totally cool, how could you not like that?" Plank recalled the event to State of the Planet, an Earth Institute News source at Columbia University.

North Fiji Basin

The North Fiji Basin (NFB) is an oceanic basin west of Fiji in the south-west Pacific Ocean. It is an actively spreading back-arc basin delimited by the Fiji islands to the east, the inactive Vitiaz Trench to the north, the Vanuatu/New Hebrides island arc to the west, and the Hunter fracture zone to the south. Roughly triangular in shape with its apex located at the northern end of the New Hebrides Arc, the basin is actively spreading southward and is characterised by three spreading centres and an oceanic crust younger than 12 Ma. The opening of the NFB began when a slab roll-back was initiated beneath the New Hebrides and the island arc started its clockwise rotation. The opening of the basin was the result of the collision between the Ontong Java Plateau and the Australian Plate along the now inactive Solomon–Vitiaz subduction system north of the NFB. The NFB is the largest and most developed back-arc basin of the south-west Pacific. It is opening in a complex geological setting between two oppositely verging subduction systems, the New Hebrides/Vanuatu and Tonga trenches and hence its ocean floor has the World's largest amount of spreading centres per area.

Tonga-Kermadec Ridge An oceanic ridge in the south-west Pacific Ocean underlying the Tonga-Kermadec island arc

The Tonga-Kermadec Ridge is an oceanic ridge in the south-west Pacific Ocean underlying the Tonga-Kermadec island arc. It is the most linear, fastest converging, and most seismically active subduction boundary on Earth, and consequently has the highest density of submarine volcanoes.

The geology of Panama includes the complex tectonic interplay between the Pacific, Cocos and Nazca plates, the Caribbean Plate and the Panama Microplate.

Monowai (seamount) Volcanic seamount north of New Zealand

Monowai is a volcanic seamount to the north of New Zealand. It is formed by a large caldera and a volcanic cone just south-southeast from the caldera. The volcanic cone rises to depths of up to 100 metres (330 ft) but its depth varies with ongoing volcanic activity, including sector collapses and the growth of lava domes. The seamount and its volcanism were discovered after 1877, but only in 1980 was it named "Monowai" after a research ship of the same name.

Plate theory (volcanism)

The plate theory is a model of volcanism that attributes all volcanic activity on Earth, even that which appears superficially to be anomalous, to the operation of plate tectonics. According to the plate theory, the principal cause of volcanism is extension of the lithosphere. Extension of the lithosphere is a function of the lithospheric stress field. The global distribution of volcanic activity at a given time reflects the contemporaneous lithospheric stress field, and changes in the spatial and temporal distribution of volcanoes reflect changes in the stress field. The main factors governing the evolution of the stress field are:

  1. Changes in the configuration of plate boundaries.
  2. Vertical motions.
  3. Thermal contraction.


  1. Wendt J. I.; Regelous M.; Collerson K. D.; Ewart A. (1997). "Evidence for a contribution from two mantle plumes to island-arc lavas from northern Tonga". Geology. 25 (7): 611–614. doi:10.1130/0091-7613(1997)025<0611:EFACFT>2.3.CO;2.