(Reuters) – A volcanic eruption in Tonga erupted on Saturday, triggering a tsunami warning for several South Pacific island countries with images of waves crashing into homes on social media.
Tsunami waves have been seen in the Tongan capital and the American capital, Samoa, according to a US-based tsunami monitor.
The eruption of the Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha’apai submarine volcano at 04:10 GMT, located 65 km (40 miles) north of Nuku’alofa, caused a 1.2-meter tsunami, the Australian Meteorological Bureau said.
The agency said it was still monitoring the situation, but no tsunami threats were issued for the Australian mainland, islands or territories.
A 2.7-foot (83 cm) tsunami wave was observed in the Tongan capital Nuku’alofa and a 2-foot wave was reported in Pago Pagon, the American capital of Samoa, according to the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center.
Fiji issued a tsunami warning, urging residents to avoid the coast as a result of “strong currents and dangerous waves.”
Jese Tuisinu, a Fiji One TV journalist, posted a video on Twitter (NYSE 🙂 showing large waves washing dry as they tried to escape the waves coming from their cars. “It is literally dark in some parts of Tonga and people are going to safety after the eruption,” he said.
The U.S. monitor later rescinded the U.S. warning for U.S. territory in Samoa.
A 2-meter-high tsunami was spotted in the U.S. capital, Samoa, by sea level meters after Tonga volcanic activity, a U.S. monitor said.
The threat of a tsunami continues and sea level fluctuations and strong ocean currents pose dangers on harbor beaches, he said.
The New Zealand Emergency Management Agency advised on tsunami activity on its northern and eastern coasts, in areas that are experiencing strong and unusual currents and unpredictable rising tides along the coast.
On Friday, the volcano sent ash, steam and gas 20 kilometers (12 miles) into the air, Tonga Geological Services (NASDAQ) posted on Facebook (NASDAQ). It has a radius of 260 km (160 miles).
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