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This powerful underwater volcano erupting in the south Pacific created a new island off the coast of Tonga. Tonga, a 170-island archipelago between Australia and Tahiti, is part of the Pacific "ring of fire" - an arc of earthquake and volcanic zones stretching from Chile in South America through Alaska and down through Vanuatu to Tonga.

This powerful underwater volcano erupting in the south Pacific created a new island off the coast of Tonga. Tonga, a 170-island archipelago between Australia and Tahiti, is part of the Pacific "ring of fire" - an arc of earthquake and volcanic zones stretching from Chile in South America through Alaska and down through Vanuatu to Tonga.

The July 12 explosion of the 3,500-foot (1,067-meter) Okmok Volcano on Umnak Island, Alaska spewed ash and sulfur dioxide 50,000 feet (15,240 kilometers) high, and the materials have since formed into a large mass hovering above the North Pacific.  The new eruption is more intense than the volcano's past three major events in 1945, 1958, and 1997.  This explosion is uniquely water-rich, due to the mixing of rising magma and shallow groundwater.

A violent volcanic eruption in Alaska's Aleutian Islands that continues to spew ash and sulfur dioxide gas and is expected to stay active for weeks, observers say.

South American Plate | The passage of the Nazca Plate beneath the South American Plate ...

South American Plate | The passage of the Nazca Plate beneath the South American Plate ...

Credit: Laura Lohrman Moore | shutterstock  Novarupta - Alaska Peninsula – June, 1912The eruption of Novarupta — one of a chain of volcanoes on the Alaska Peninsula, part of the Pacific Ring of Fire — was the largest volcanic blast of the 20th century. The powerful eruption sent 3 cubic miles (12.5 cubic km) of magma and ash into the air, which fell to cover an area of 3,000 square miles (7,800 square km) more than a foot deep.    The blast was so powerful that it drained magma from under

Big Blasts: History's 10 Most Destructive Volcanoes

Novarupta The eruption of Novarupta — one of a chain of volcanoes on the Alaska Peninsula, part of the Pacific Ring of Fire — was the largest volcanic blast of the century.

Onderwater vulkaan

An undersea volcano erupts off the coast of Tonga, sending plumes of steam, ash and smoke up to 100 meters into the air, on March off the coast of Nuku'Alofa, Tonga(Dana Stephenson/Getty Images)

Mt Augustine - 4,134 ft. Aleutian Islands, Alaska

Mt Augustine - 4,134 ft. Aleutian Islands, Alaska

May 5, 2015; 8:00 AM ET  Turrialba, Costa Rica’s most active volcano, erupted Monday, May 4. A dark plume of thick smoke and ash was jettisoned 1.5 miles into the sky.

May AM ET Turrialba, Costa Rica’s most active volcano, erupted Monday, May A dark plume of thick smoke and ash was jettisoned miles into the sky.

Iliamna Volcano Alaska

Skiing the Pacific Ring of Fire and Beyond: Iliamna Volcano

South American Plate | Geology The Nazca plate is sliding beneath the South American plate ...

South American Plate | Geology The Nazca plate is sliding beneath the South American plate ...

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