The Pacific Rim brings lots of news this week! First, you get a new island in Tonga (Polynesia).
The island - which is 500m (1,640 feet) long - was formed after an eruption at the Hunga Tonga volcano that started in December.And then, in tragic news, a cyclone devastates the islands of Vanuatu (Melanesia).
"The damage is quite extensive in Port Vila but there are so many more vulnerable islands. I can't even imagine what it's like in those vulnerable communities.''Tonga is an archipelago (group of islands) with over 177 islands split between 4 major groups and lies two-thirds of the way from Hawaii to New Zealand. Vanuatu is an archipelago with over 80 islands to its claim - also thanks to the same process that brought us our new Tongan island and lies about three-quarters of the way from Hawaii to Australia. The distance between Vanuatu and Tonga is 1,988 km (1,235 miles) - similar distance from Boston to Miami - and the flight likely involves a stop in Fiji on the way. Really not far from each other relatively speaking. Of course, this week illustrates an interesting snapshot in time as with these volcanic regions, new islands are added but don't always stick around.