Tonga: Tsunami warning after eruption of undersea volcano

Status: 01/15/2022 11:39 a.m

Authorities have issued a tsunami warning after an underwater volcano erupted in the Pacific state of Tonga. The eruption sent ash, steam and gas up to 20 kilometers into the air.

A tsunami warning has been issued in the region due to the eruption of an underwater volcano in the Pacific state of Tonga. The Hunga-Tonga-Hunga-Ha’apai threw ash, steam and gas up to 20 kilometers into the air, the Tonga Geological Survey (TGS) said. People have been urged to stay indoors and wear masks outside.

Fiji also issued a warning. Because of dangerous waves, a stay on the coast should be avoided, the authorities said.

Smaller tidal waves registered

Smaller tidal waves were recorded in Tonga, the US territory of American Samoa and some nearby areas, according to the US Tsunami Warning Center. They would have had a height of around 60 to 80 centimeters. A TV reporter from Fiji posted a video on Twitter showing smaller waves hitting shore and people scrambling for safety in their cars. The warning for American Samoa was lifted a little later.

The meteorological authority of Australia even spoke of a tsunami height of 1.2 meters. However, no warning was issued for Australia. Storm surge warnings have been issued in New Zealand, more than 2,300 kilometers from Tonga.

Volcano active again and again since December

According to media reports, the volcano erupted on Friday. Scientists observed massive explosions, thunder and lightning nearby, Matangi Tonga news website reported. The news website “Islands Business” reported on Facebook that King Tupou VI. of Tonga had been taken to safety from his palace near the coast.

The volcano has been active again and again since December. However, according to TGS, the latest eruption was seven times stronger than the last eruption. The agency also warned of possible acid rain in the region. The volcano is about 30 kilometers southeast of Tonga’s Fonuafo’ou Island (also known as Falcon Island).

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