News concerning volcanic activity, earthquakes, weather and other earth science matters from the Tristan da Cunha group.

Partial Solar Eclipse, December 2020

Photos from Administrator Fiona Kilpatrick

To add to the pre-Christmas festivities, on Monday 14th December 2020, people on Tristan were able to witness a rare eclipse of the sun. The path of the eclipse was such that although it was total over parts of South America, only a partial eclipse was visible at Tristan. Even so, it reached a magnitude of 0.9158, meaning that the Moon covered 89.76% of the Sun.

Partial solar eclipse at Tristan da Cunha Partial solar eclipse at Tristan da Cunha
The partial solar eclipse as seen at the settlement on Tristan da Cunha.

The sky at Tristan is often cloudy, so people were careful not to get too excited. Even so, social worker Sam Lowe had ordered special sunglasses for the children just in case. As it turned out, clouds did get in the way, but as Fiona Kilpatrick's pictures show, it was still a great spectacle.

Partial solar eclipse at Tristan da Cunha, with albatross

An albatross managed to make an appearance too!

The eclipse started at 4:32 pm, reached its maximum at 5:40 pm, and finished at 6:40 pm, making the total duration 2 hours, 8 minutes.

Earthquake in Tristan da Cunha Region

Mid-Atlantic Ridge Earthquake 215 miles from Tristan

A 5.9 magnitude earthquake occurred on Monday 31st August 346km WNW of Tristan da Cunha at a depth of 10km. This earthquake is typical of many regular events along the Mid-Atlantic Ridge which lies some 350 km west of Tristan da Cunha. The ridge is the centre of sea-floor spreading as shallow magma convection currents push upwards and force the South American and African tectonic plates apart. The quakes are often accompanied by the eruption of basalt lava on the ocean floor, usually billowing out to form rounded shapes called 'pillow' lava, as they resemble cushions. Earthquakes of this magnitude are seldom felt on Tristan da Cunha, and are of no significance to the island community.

Tristan da Cunha itself is an active hot-spot volcano, fed by deep magma currents. Since the October 1961 eruption, which led to the evacuation of the entire Tristan population to the UK, there has been one submarine volcanic eruption in 2004, but no further significant seismic activity recorded. The island community is alert for any further locally centred earthquakes which may be the prelude to a future volcanic eruption. The Tristan Government has a Disaster Management Plan and holds periodic drills to revise procedures in the event of a volcanic emergency.

Progress Report on Storm Damage at St Mary's School, March 2020

Photo report on the state of the school in January 2020, with an update on the situation in March.
19-Mar-2020
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Drone Footage of the Damage Caused by the July 2019 Storm

Aerial footage shows even more clearly than still photographs the extent of the damage caused by the storm.
10-Mar-2020
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Successful re-roofing after November 2019 Storm

'All Hands Day' achieves target as three key buildings repaired
6-Nov-2019
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November Storm Photo Report

Communications restored as community again this year makes urgent storm repairs
5-Nov-2019
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Storm Damage Update on 4th November 2019

Brief report on progress with repairs and communications.
4-Nov-2019
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Another Damaging Storm Hits Tristan

The island was hit by another storm on 2nd/3rd November 2019, but slightly less damaging than the July 2019 storm.
3-Nov-2019
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Update on storm damage repairs, 16th October 2019

Work continues to repair and re-equip key damaged buildings
19-Oct-2019
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