Sunday, January 16, 2022

Eruption in the South Pacific – Volcanic eruption in the island nation of Tonga triggers tsunami

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Authorities are warning of flooding. Experts report waves two meters high on the coast of the capital. Residents are encouraged to move to higher ground.

Volcanic activity in the South Pacific island nation of Tonga has triggered a tsunami in the region, according to the US Tsunami Warning Center. The authority said on Saturday that there was also a risk of tidal waves and dangerous sea currents along the beaches and ports in the US territory of American Samoa. Lower-lying coastal areas could be flooded, it said. Information about damage or victims was initially not available.

Experts reported on Twitter two-meter high waves in Nuku’alofa, the capital of Tonga. Beach residents retreated to their rooftops and filmed large waves hitting their homes. The first waves had also reached Fiji, it said.

The Tonga government previously issued the second tsunami warning in two days. The police asked them to go to higher ground. Siren alarms were sounded in coastal towns.

The trigger is an eruption of the underwater volcano Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha’apai, which catapulted ash, steam and gas up to 17 kilometers into the air. Ash also rained down on Nuku’alofa.

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