Often when choosing where to hide, I pick a volcano strictly based on curb-appeal, so naturally I was drawn to this pretty little island volcano with its large crater lake and gently smoking fumaroles. But as has been the case several times before, I learned something uniquely interesting about this particular volcano.
Tofua is a volcanic island of the Ha’apai island group in Tonga in the South Pacific. The original stratovolcano cone, like its island neighbors, was a product of subduction zone volcanism. Its eruptive history is recorded in layers of lava and pyroclastic deposits as well as welded and unwelded ignimbrite at the northern end of the island. After the caldera collapsed, volcanic activity continued in the form of fissure eruptions on the northern caldera rim and flanks and a group of three cones inside the caldera.
The northernmost of those three cones, called Lofia, is the only historically active one. Lofia’s crater is only 70 m wide but is 120 m deep, and though it is usually emitting steam, sometimes lava can be observed in one or more small pits in the crater floor.
But historians might be interested to note that the first Caucasian man to set foot on Tofua island was Captain William Bligh of the HMS Bounty in 1789. After being set adrift in the ship’s boat by the mutineers, Bligh and a handful of loyal men sailed to Tofua to get supplies, but were chased off by the angry natives.
Congratulations to Jonet for being the first and only one to catch up to me this week even though the Search Party has picked up a few new people. Welcome aboard to each of you..and don’t worry. There will be a new chance to find me beginning this Monday evening (NY time) when I take off for new adventure at a new volcano.