Underwater volcanic activity near Tonga has erupted for the third time in four days, increasing the possibility that surveillance aircraft will be unable to adequately assess the damage caused by Saturday’s massive eruption and tsunami.
Australia’s meteorological service said, “There have been no tsunami warnings issued in response to Monday’s eruption at Australia’s Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha’apai volcano.
According to experts, Saturday’s eruption is likely to have been the largest ever recorded anywhere on Earth for the past 30 years. The outbreak was captured in real-time through stunning images taken from space, as a massive plume of ash, gas, and steam poured into the atmosphere — and tsunami waves crashed across the ocean as the sunset in the Pacific. The heavy ash cloud darkened the afternoon sky sent hitting across the sea.
As well as the US West Coast, there were Tsunamis recorded in Peru, New Zealand, and Japan. The Peruvian authorities reported at least two deaths after high waves pulled people into the water.
Aid organizations fear the contaminated air and lack of clean water in Tonga’s outer islands will lead to mass casualties, but no mass deaths have been reported.
Here is what you should learn about the eruption and fallout.
Where is Tonga’s Hunga-Tonga-Hunga-Ha’apai volcano?
More than 170 islands make up Tonga’s South Pacific territory, and it is home to about 100,000 people. Approximately 800 kilometers (500 miles) between Fiji and New Zealand and 2,380 kilometers (1,500 miles) between Fiji and this remote archipelago.
Over the past few decades, researchers have observed that it has erupted regularly.
During the most recent eruption, Approximately 12 kilometers (7.5 miles) of ash, steam, and gas plumes were emitted in December 2021. An explosion on January 14 sent shockwaves around the globe, triggering tsunami waves across the Pacific. A massive outbreak on January 15 led to tsunami waves and shockwaves across the Pacific.
Where did the tsunami hit?
During Saturday’s eruption, waves reached 1.2 meters (about 4 feet) near Nuku’alofa, flooding coastal roads and flooding properties on Tonga’s largest island, Tongatapu.
As well as the United States, Canada’s British Columbia, and parts of New Zealand, Japan and Peru also issued tsunami warnings and advisories.
NHK reported that waves up to 2.7 meters (9 feet) high were recorded in the northeastern prefecture of Iwate and that smaller tsunamis were also reported in numerous other places. As a result, the tsunami advisories for Japan were lifted on Sunday afternoon.
What is happening with the ash cloud?
On Saturday, Tonga was covered in a thick fog of volcanic dust and ash created from an ash cloud.
According to Save the Children, Tonga’s primary concern is air and water safety. Ash and smoke could contaminate drinking water supplies.
A large ash cloud drifted westward from Tahiti and was visible from New Caledonia to Fiji on Sunday.
What is the scale of devastation?
In Tonga, no mass casualties have been reported so far, but the extent of the damage is unknown, especially in the outlying islands, as communications have not yet been repaired.
Another undersea communication cable has been affected, likely due to a power failure.
The Minister for International Development and the Pacific for Australia, Zed Seselja, said the region had experienced “significant property damage,” including damage to houses and roads. But, according to him, no, or very little, information has come from the outer islands.
The Air Force sent an Orion plane to assess damages in Tonga. Ardern announced that the Government had committed the first round of $340,000 in relief supplies, technical support, and local assistance.
Tonga is being provided with humanitarian aid, including water and sanitation kits, upon permitting conditions, Australia said.