Earlier this year a volcanic eruption began forming a new island in Tonga and it’s fairly substantial in size, considering how little time it took to form. At almost a mile long and half a mile wide, this virgin island is now visitable since the eruption has died down, and already colonization of the land has begun by seabirds, and a large enclosed lagoon is also present.
It may be some time before the island is fully safe for terrestrial and aquatic creatures to fully take hold as the soil is still very acidic, and plenty of these chemicals are flowing into the sea changing the chemistry to the point of being toxic to marine life. In the meantime, it is exciting to imagine that researchers will be chronicling and documenting the development of life on the island both above, and below the water.
Once the coast is clear for corals and other benthic life to grow, it will be fascinating to learn what corals arrive first, and what subsequent reef creatures will be calling this new unnamed island their home. [ABC]