Deep beneath the surface of the water, an undersea volcano erupted this winter in the Southern Pacific Ocean. This is what it left behind.


The eruption actually occurred in December of last year, but this is the first time satellites have managed to get a full glimpse of the entire island, which is the newest part of island nation of Tonga.

Early visitors to the island were able to bring back some pictures, and partial satellite images have been available, but the entirety of the island’s structure — and even whether it would be around long enough for us to see it — were still unknown until this most recent pass by NASA’s Earth Observatory, which you can see above compared with the same stretch of ocean a year before the volcano erupted.


Images: NASA Earth Observatory image by Jesse Allen, using Landsat data from the USGS.

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