When matters finally settled down, a newly formed island with a 400 foot peak had come into existence. This novel island was present between two older islands. This new island was said to last only a couple of months. However, now scientists and geologists agree that it has a longer lease of life.
This new scenario lends scientists a view into the early life and evolution of this area as it existed on earth. The sort of cataclysms and erosion that gave rise to the rock formations on Mars can also be gauged from this island catastrophe. Volcanic islands are a simple enough affair. The experts at NASA are looking into how the 3D landscape transforms over the passage of time.
Also the mystery as to how it remained intact for so long is something which researchers at NASA are interested in. The Tongan island happens to be the third of its kind to emerge on earth in the last century and a half. High resolution satellite observations have been made of the island to determine what stuff it is made of.
The first island of this type to be born in the satellite era, NASA researchers have an unprecedented view of its early life and evolution. Lessons learned on Earth may help us understand similar-looking landforms on Mars. Credits: NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center/Lauren Ward Two scenarios were worked out by NASA regarding the tuff cone of the island’s volcano. The first one involves wave abrasion.
As for the second one, it involves a retarded erosion time table. There is a reason behind the differences in the two scenarios. This happens to be the uncertainty surrounding the initial volume of the tuff cone.
Changes have occurred in the island since its formation though. That’s for sure. Satellite imagery shows sandbars being formed on the surface. Past eruptions may have occurred too but they never reached sea level.
With 33 months of high-resolution satellite data, NASA researchers made 3D models of the island to study its evolution through time. In addition, with the permission of the Tongan government, NASA recruited two French sailors in Tongan waters in June 2017 to take photos and rock samples for further study. Credits: Visualization credit: NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center/Scientific Visualization Studio/Cindy Starr; Video credit: NASA/Damien Grouille/Cecile Sabau