“And I will shew wonders in the heavens and in the earth, blood, and fire, and pillars of smoke… before the great and the terrible day of the LORD come.” The Prophet Joel 2:30-31
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 locals 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 locals, told Tonga’s Matangi Online.
The one-mile long cone-shaped island began forming last month, about forty miles 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.
Reports came out that the underwater volcano’s eruption turned the sea blood red and the sky grey with ash.
Tonga’s lands and natural resources ministry said last month the island was half a mile wide and just under a mile long. It is believed to be about 820 feet high.
The island is expected to erode back into the ocean in a matter of months.
Before and After Eruption Photos (Above)
Mr Orbassano said he believed the island was high enough for it to remain for some time – and potentially attract tourists.
“There are thousands of seabirds – all kinds, laying eggs on the island,” he said.
Mr Orbassano, 63, an Italian who moved to Tonga more than 20 years ago, previously had a career in photography and took a series of photos of the new island. Excerpts and More Photos here.