Home Reef Reborn
In the South Pacific, south of Late Island along the Tofua volcanic arc in Tonga, the volcanic island Home Reef is being re-born. The island is thought to have emerged after a volcanic eruption in mid-August that also spewed large amounts of floating pumice into Tongan waters and swept across to Fiji about 350 km (220 miles) to the west of where the new island formed. In 2004, a similar eruption created an ephemeral island about 0.5 by 1.5 km (0.3 by 0.9 miles) in size; it was no longer visible in an ASTER image acquired November 2005. This simulated natural color image shows the vegetation-covered stratovolcanic island of Late Island in the upper right. Home Reef is found in the lower left. The two bluish plumes are hot seawater that is laden with volcanic ash and chemicals; the larger one can be traced for more than 14 km (8.4 miles) to the east. The image was acquired Oct. 10, 2006 and covers an area of 24.3 by 30.2 km. It is located at 18.9 degrees south latitude, 174.7 degrees west longitude.
With its 14 spectral bands from the visible to the thermal infrared wavelength region, and its high spatial resolution of 15 to 90 meters (about 50 to 300 feet), ASTER images Earth to map and monitors the changing surface of our planet. It is one of five Earth-observing instruments launched Dec. 18, 1999, on NASA's Terra satellite. The instrument was built by Japan's Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry. A joint U.S./Japan science team is responsible for validation and calibration of the instrument and the data products.
Image credit: NASA/GSFC/METI/ERSDAC/JAROS and U.S./Japan ASTER Science Team