Stunning views from space of an underwater volcano erupting in Tonga

The Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha'apai eruption sent plumes of gas, ash and smoke several miles into the air and caused tsunamis in the Pacific.

On Saturday, an underwater volcano, the Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha'apai, erupted off the Tonga Islands. From space, a huge mushroom of smoke and ash, immediately followed by the outbreak of a wave was captured by satellites.

The eruption lasted eight minutes and sent plumes of gas, ash and smoke several miles into the air. Videos of the eruption were shared on the Potungaue Koloa Fakaenatula Facebook page.

Mere Taufa, a resident of Tonga, told her story to the Stuff news site, taken over by Agence France Presse, which specifies that her house was then flooded.
“It was a huge explosion. The ground shook, the whole house shook. It came in waves. My younger brother wanted bombs going off near our house.”

The eruption caused tsunamis in the Pacific. Waves of 1,74 meters were measured in Chile. Smaller waves were reported along the Pacific coast from Alaska to Mexico. In Japan, waves of about 1,2 meters are reported. If the tsunami warning was lifted on Sunday, the phenomenon caused the death by drowning of two women in Peru.

Tonga was covered with 1-2 cm of volcanic ash. L'UNICEF is concerned about the impact on water and food supplies, but also on air quality.

The Hunga-Tonga-Hunga-Ha'apai submarine volcano is located about 65 km from the Tongan capital Nuku'alofa. It had emerged during an eruption in 2009. In 2015, following the explosion of rocks and ash, an island two kilometers long by one kilometer wide and 100 meters high had formed when they s were deposited.

MC (with AFP)

Image credit: Creative Commons / Flickr / Screenshot

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