Home LATEST NEWS Eruption and tsunami: the threat over, significant damage in Tonga

Eruption and tsunami: the threat over, significant damage in Tonga


The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center clarified around 10 p.m. that the tidal wave threat was globally past for countries bordering the ocean, even if slight variations in sea level remain possible for a few hours.

The tsunami had a major impact on the northern shoreline of Nuku’alofa, with boats and large rocks washed ashore, but no casualties were reported, Ms Ardern said, without specifying whether there had been damage in the other islands of the archipelago.

New Zealand will send a military reconnaissance aircraft to fly over the area on Monday if the volcanic ash cloud permits.

Communications with Tonga have been cut off since Saturday’s eruption damaged an undersea cable, but Ms Ardern said her government had contacted the New Zealand High Commission in the capital.

Jacinda Ardern at a press conference.

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern

Photo: Getty Images/Hagen Hopkins

Ms Ardern said there was no no significant eruption in progress and that ash had stopped falling, but further volcanic activity could not be ruled out.

Deeply concerned for the people of Tonga recovering from the aftermath of a volcanic eruption and tsunami, tweeted US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, adding that the United States stands ready to send aid to our Pacific neighbors.

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Stunning views from space showed the timing of Friday’s eruption of Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha’apai, on one of Tonga’s uninhabited islands: a huge mushroom of smoke and ash, and a wave immediately unleashed.

The eruption triggered tsunamis in the Pacific, with waves of 1.74 meters measured in Chanaral, Chile, more than 10,000 kilometers away, and smaller waves observed along the Pacific coast, the Alaska to Mexico. Waves of about 1.2 meters hit the Pacific coast of Japan. She even made herself heard in the Yukon in addition to putting residents of British Columbia’s coasts on the alert.

In Peru, where freak waves were observed, according to the Civil Defense, the police said they rescued 23 people on the coast, without specifying under what circumstances.

The US Geological Institute recorded Saturday’s eruption as equivalent to a magnitude 5.8 earthquake at zero depth.

The eruption lasted eight minutes and sent plumes of gas, ash and smoke several miles into the air.

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New Zealand scientist Marco Brenna, a senior lecturer at the University of Otago’s School of Geology, called the impact of the eruption a relatively low, but said another eruption with a much larger impact could not be ruled out.

The eruption was so powerful it was even heard in Alaska, the Institute of Geophysics at the University of Alaska in Fairbanks tweeted.

The weather station in Fife, Scotland, said on Twitter that it was simply amazing to think of the power that can send shockwaves around the world, after the eruption caused a jump in its atmospheric pressure graph.

The Hunga-Tonga-Hunga-Ha’apai underwater volcano, located about 65 kilometers from the Tongan capital Nuku’alofa, had emerged during an eruption in 2009, and had spewed so many large boulders and ash into the air in 2015 that a new island two kilometers long by one kilometer wide and 100 meters high was formed when they were deposited.

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