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Tsunami waves crash ashore in Tonga after powerful eruption

Nuku'alofa, Tonga | January 15, 2022, Saturday @ 13:19 in World » GENERAL | By: AFP | Views: 1682
Tsunami waves crash ashore in Tonga after powerful eruption

This picture taken on December 21, 2021 shows white gaseous clouds rising from the Hunga Ha'apai eruption seen from the Patangata coastline near Tongan capital Nuku'alofa. A huge dust cloud spewed out when a volcano erupted in Tonga this week could result in showers of acid rain across the Pacific kingdom, emergency authorities have warned. (Mary Lyn FONUA / AFP)

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(AFP) - Large waves crashed ashore in Tonga Saturday after a massive volcanic eruption that was heard in neighbouring countries triggered the area's second tsunami in as many days.

"A 1.2 metre tsunami wave has been observed at Nukualofa," Australia's Bureau of Meteorology tweeted. The maximum tsunami wave recorded following Friday's explosion was 30 centimetres.

The latest eruption of the Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha'apai volcano came just a few hours after Friday's tsunami warning was lifted.

It lasted at least eight minutes and sent plumes of gas, ash and smoke several kilometres into the air. Residents in coastal areas were urged to head for higher ground.

The eruption was so intense it was heard as "loud thunder sounds" in Fiji more than 800 kilometres (500 miles) away, officials in Suva said.

Victorina Kioa of the Tonga Public Service Commission said Friday that people should "keep away from areas of warning which are low-lying coastal areas, reefs and beaches."

The head of Tonga Geological Services Taaniela Kula urged people to stay indoors, wear a mask if they were outside and cover rainwater reservoirs and rainwater harvesting systems.

The Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre issued a "tsunami advisory" for American Samoa, saying there was a threat of "sea level fluctuations and strong ocean currents that could be a hazard along beaches."

The Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha'apai volcano sits on an uninhabited island about 65 kilometres (40 miles) north of the Tongan capital Nuku'alofa.

© Agence France-Presse

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