NewsUndersea volcanic eruption: South Sea island of Tonga covered...

Undersea volcanic eruption: South Sea island of Tonga covered in ash dust

The nearby island kingdom of Tonga seems to be particularly affected by the tidal waves triggered by the eruption of an undersea volcano.

Update from Sunday, January 16th, 2022, 7.40 a.m .: The massive eruption of an undersea volcano near the island kingdom of Tonga triggered tidal waves in the Pacific region. Tsunami waves were recorded not only in Tonga, but also in New Zealand, Japan and Fiji. Flooding in Santa Cruz, California, has also been attributed to the outbreak. New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said on Sunday there had been no official reports of injuries or deaths. The US and the United Nations pledged help.

Tonga was covered in volcanic dust as a result of the volcanic eruption, and communication links with the island kingdom in the South Pacific were restricted because an undersea cable was damaged. Local media in Tonga reported an ash shower, flooding of houses and disruption of telephone and electricity connections.

Ardern said authorities are working to restore communications as soon as possible. At the moment one receives “unfortunately not much information from the outer islands (…). Tonga’s water supply is a priority. The New Zealand Defense Forces would attempt to launch a surveillance flight on Monday. Ash was sighted at an altitude of almost 20 kilometers, which is currently making flying unsafe. A naval ship was also put on standby to help if needed.

Dieses Satellitenbild zeigt den Vulkanausbruch im Inselstaat Tonga.


This satellite image shows the volcanic eruption in the island nation of Tonga.

Tonga volcano erupts: Tsunami wave hits Japan

+++ 8:38 p.m .: The volcanic eruption in the island state of Tonga triggered a tsunami in Japan. A 1.2 meter high tidal wave was recorded on the remote island of Amami Oshima in the south of the country late on Saturday evening (01/15/2022), the Japanese weather service said. Smaller tidal waves were also registered at several locations along the Pacific coast of Japan.

The weather service issued a warning of waves up to three meters high. The television station NHK called on the residents of the affected coastal areas in a special program to get to higher ground to safety.

Volcanic eruption in the South Pacific: People on Tonga flee from tsunami

+++ 1.30 p.m .: After a volcanic eruption and a tsunami, numerous people fled to higher areas in the island state of Tonga in the South Pacific. “A 1.2 meter high tsunami wave was observed in Nuku’alofa,” the Australian Meteorological Service said on Saturday. As reported by local media, citing local residents, the tidal wave flooded numerous houses in the island’s capital.

Dieses Satellitenbild zeigt den Ausbruch eines Untersee-Vulkans in der Nähe der Pazifiknation Tonga.


This satellite image shows the eruption of a submarine volcano near the Pacific nation of Tonga.

The eruption on Saturday lasted eight minutes and was so strong that it could be heard “like a distant rumble of thunder” even in the Fiji Islands more than 800 kilometers away, according to officials from Fiji.

Undersea volcano erupted in the South Pacific – tsunami off Tonga

+++ Update, 11:03 a.m .: Local media reports that tidal waves flooded land on the main island of Tongatapu after the eruption of the Hunga-Tonga-Hunga-Ha’apai volcano. It had rained ash and telephone connections had failed. The extent of the damage was initially unclear.

According to media reports, Tonga’s King Tupou VI. brought to safety from the royal palace in the capital Nuku’alofa. According to the Australian Meteorological Agency, a 1.2 meter high wave was observed in the city. The authorities of other Pacific countries also issued tsunami warnings, including Fiji, Samoa and New Zealand. People have been urged to stay away from coastal areas.

The US National Weather Service (NOAA) has lifted the tsunami warning for American Samoa. The volcanic eruption led to a tsunami. Based on the available data, it can be assumed that the tsunami danger is over, but that there could still be fluctuations in sea level, it said.

Bereits 2009 brach in der Tiefsee ein Vulkan aus. (Archivbild)


In 2009, a volcano erupted in the deep sea. (archive image)

Undersea volcano erupted in the South Pacific – tsunami warning

Nuku’alofa – The authorities have issued a tsunami warning because of the eruption of an undersea volcano near the island kingdom of Tonga in the South Seas. The Hunga-Tonga-Hunga-Ha’apai threw ash, steam and gas up to 20 kilometers into the air on Friday, the Tonga Geological Survey (TGS) said. People have been urged to stay indoors and wear masks outside. There was no tsunami warning for Fiji, Samoa and New Zealand.

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. Initially, only small tsunami waves of up to 30 centimeters were registered, according to the local weather office. The volcano is about 30 kilometers southeast of Tonga’s Fonuafo’ou Island (also known as Falcon Island). (ktho/dpa)

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