Niuafo'ou ("Tin Can Island") is a low, 8-km-wide island that forms the summit of a largely submerged basaltic shield volcano. Niuafo'ou is an isolated volcanic island in the north central Lau Basin about 170 km west of the northern end of the Tofua volcanic arc. The circular island encloses a 5-km-wide caldera that is mostly filled by a lake whose bottom extends to below sea level. The inner walls of the caldera drop sharply to the caldera lake, named Big Lake (or Vai Lahi), which contains several small islands and pyroclastic cones on its NE shore. Historical eruptions, mostly from circumferential fissures on the west-to-south side of the island, have been recorded since 1814 and have often damaged villages on this small ring-shaped island. A major eruption at Niuafo'ou in 1946 forced evacuation of most of its 1200 inhabitants.