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First Photographs Emerge of New Pacific Island off Tonga

Tonga native visits three-month-old island and captures its stunning beauty.

. For weeks in January, an underwater volcano sent volcanic ash thousands of feet in the air near the South Pacific island nation of Tonga. The continuous eruptions created a new island that scientists say won't last longer than several months.Tonga native GP Orbassano visited the island on March 6 and captured these stunning landscapes.

GP Orbassano

. The three-month-old island (center) joins two older volcanic islets Hunga Tonga and Hunga Ha'apai 40 miles north of Tonga's capital of Nuku'alofa.

GP Orbassano

. Orbassano told Montangi Tonga Online, "It was a perfect day, with fantastic views - bright blue sky and the sea was the same color as the sky."

GP Orbassano

. Orbassano captured the fragile and eroded surface on a new volcanic island.

GP Orbassano

. The sides of the island's crater rise high above the sea level. Orbassano and his companions climbed to the highest point of the crater, and admitted it was dangerous and excessively hot on the black landscape.

GP Orbassano

. Orbassano reported that the green crater lake smelled of Sulphur.

GP Orbassano

. Tonga officials said the island was half a mile wide and just under a mile long and 820 feet high.

GP Orbassano

. The cone shaped island is covered with deep channels that are unstable to walk on, but Orbassano said he thinks the island is so high it will last a while and not disappear.

GP Orbassano

. Orbassano captured this view of the volcanic island's neighbor, Hunga Ha'apai.

GP Orbassano

. Orbassano captured this view of Hunga Tonga from the other side of new volcanic island. He believes that the natural beauty of the location could make it a scenic attraction for visitors, at least for offshore viewing.

GP Orbassano