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Blog series: Hunga (Tonga) voyage


06 June 2024

tangaroa DSC 0691 credit dave allen

Follow the experiences of researchers on an ocean-going expedition to the Hunga volcano on a mission to discover what triggered the most violent volcanic eruption in over 100 years.

On 15 January 2022 the submerged Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha’apai Volcano underwent a powerful eruption, triggering shockwaves that travelled around the planet and excavated a huge crater to 850 m below sea level.

To better understand what caused the powerful eruption and what this can tell us about the submarine volcanoes in New Zealand’s own maritime estate, GNS Science is leading a month-long international voyage to undertake the most comprehensive post-2022 eruption survey of the Hunga volcano to date.

The Beneath the Waves programme is contributing to this voyage for the wealth of data being collected that will allow us to assess the impact on NZ should such an eruption occur at one of our near-shore volcanoes, Whakaari or Tuhua.  The Hunga eruption, is considered an ‘end member’, meaning it is at the extreme end for the size and eruptive power generated for a volcano of its size.

Immerse yourself in the research expedition through a series of blog posts authored by voyage participant Associate Professor Simon Lamb (VUW) as he shares the successes, challenges and joys of life onboard the R/V Tangaroa.