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Tsunami-hit Tonga and Australia and New Zealand issue alerts after massive volcanic eruption

An undersea volcano has erupted in the Pacific island nation of Tonga, sending large waves that have triggered tsunami warnings in the South Pacific.

Video posted to social media showed waves rolling over the island nation, swirling around homes and buildings. So far, there have been no immediate reports of injuries or the extent of the damage.

New Zealand’s emergency management agency has issued a tsunami activity advisory for its northern and eastern coasts saying parts of the country could expect “unusual strong currents and unpredictable surges on the shore following a large volcanic eruption”.

Meanwhile, the New Zealand military said it was monitoring the situation and remained on standby, ready to help if asked.

Hunga Tonga Hunga Ha’apai erupted on Saturday

(Screenshot)

The eruption of Hunga Tonga Hunga Ha’apai, located about 65 kilometers north of Nuku’alofa, caused a 1.2 meter tsunami, the Australian Bureau of Meteorology said.

The Australian Federal Government is also “monitoring the situation” and “stands ready to provide support to Tonga if required”.

The Tonga Meteorological Services said a tsunami warning had been put in effect for the whole of Tonga and data from the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center showed waves of 80 centimeters (2.6 feet) had been detected.

Authorities in the neighboring island nations of Fiji and Samoa have also issued warnings, telling people to avoid the shore due to strong currents and dangerous waves. The Japan Meteorological Agency said there could be some slight water swelling along Japan’s coasts, but it shouldn’t cause any damage.

Tsunami waves measuring two feet in height were also generated in American Samoa after the volcanic eruption.

In a statement, the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center in Honolulu said, “A tsunami was generated by this earthquake. And based on all available data, there is a threat to American Samoa from sea level fluctuations and strong ocean currents that could pose a hazard along beaches, in harbors and in coastal waters.

The Tonga’s Business news site reported that a convoy of police and military had evacuated the island’s King Tupou VI from his palace near the shore. He was one of many people heading for the heights.

Dr Emily Lane of New Zealand’s National Institute for Water and Atmospheric Research said the eruption was “very significant”.

Professor Shane Cronin, from the University of Auckland’s School of Environment, added that the eruption is one of the volcano’s largest since 1100 AD and warned people in Tonga should be watchful for new eruptions of the same size.

“Past large Hunga eruptions were comparable to the magnitude we saw during the January 15, 2022 event or greater. Based on these past events, tephra (ash) falls up to 20cm thick can be expected on Tongatapu and the Ha’apai group of islands. Geological deposits on Hunga Ha’apai from AD1000 and AD200 eruptions suggest that there were numerous eruptive phases during each of the major eruption episodes,” Prof Cronin said.

He added: “This suggests that the current eruption episode could last several weeks or months and that other eruptions similar in size to the January 15, 2022 event are possible.”

A Twitter user identified as Dr Faka’iloatonga Taumoefolau posted a video showing waves crashing on the shore. sky.”

The volcano is located about 64 kilometers (40 miles) north of the capital, Nuku’alofa. In late 2014 and early 2015, a series of eruptions in the area created a new small island and disrupted international air travel to the Pacific archipelago for several days.


The Independent Gt

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