Back in August, Fredrik Fransson and some fellow Swedes were sailing in the South Pacific around Tonga when they came across a sea of pumice stones and then a brand new erupting Island. Fredrik documented this with some amazing photos on his blog. NASA came calling, asking for the coordinates, and took a picture, which has now been published (NASA permalink).
As a result, the news has hit the mainstream over the past few days, reported by the AFP and AP in English and in Swedish papers (here and here) among others. Ogle Earth reader Lars Karlsson emailed the sailors to ask for the exact coordinates, and got them: 18deg.59.5S 174deg.46.3W
The above link is to the placemark in Google Earth. Turn on the Google Earth Community Layer and you’ll also see a marker for “Home Reef” at nearly the same spot: Home Reef is one of nearly 2,000 “major or isolated islands” as registered by the United Nations Environment Program. Here’s the entry for Home Reef, where it is currently described an active submarine volcano. I guess that database is now in need of an update.
The NASA picture was just begging to be overlaid onto Google Earth, so I obliged — download it here. As you’ll see, the Swedes’ coordinates are spot on. (Or rather, NASA was:-)