THE first photographs have emerged of a newly formed volcanic island in the Pacific Ocean after three men climbed to the peak of the land mass off the coast of Tonga.
The three residents from Tonga visited the island on Saturday, landing on a black beach and climbing to the rim of the crater.
They said the surface was still hot and the green lake in the crater smelt strongly of sulphur.
“It was a perfect day, with fantastic views – bright blue sky and the sea was the same colour as the sky,” GP Orbassano, one of the men, said.
The 1.6km long cone-shaped island began forming last month, about 60km from the nation’s capital, and is now safe to walk on.
Experts believe a volcano exploded underwater and then expanded until an island formed. The island is expected to erode back into the ocean in a matter of months.
Orbassano, 63, an Italian who moved to Tonga 20 years ago, said he believed the island was high enough for it to remain for some time – and potentially attract tourists.
“There are thousands of seabirds laying eggs on the island,” he said.
Tonga’s lands and natural resources ministry said last month the island was 800m wide and just under 1.6km long.
It is believed to be about 249m high.
– The Telegraph