A massive volcano has erupted near the Tongan Islands and tsunami warnings closed Australian beaches over the weekend.
The volcano is reported to be 1,800 metres high and 20 kilometres wide and has already caused flooding in Santa Cruz, California.
The Eastern Australian coastline was issued with a tsunami warning and officials were advised to clear the beaches however, it was the weekend and Aussies bloody love the beach so that proved to be pretty hard.
Luckily for those ocean lovers, the tsunami alert has been cancelled and Sunday was just another day at the beach.
Australia’s Tongan community wait anxiously to communicate with family and friends back home as the eruption has severed communication infrastructure in the nation.
Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha’apai volcano consisted of two uninhabited islands that the volcano spans across. The volcano peaks at about 100m above sea level but the ocean hides the rest of its overwhelming mass.
At this stage, there have been no reports of any deaths or injuries following the eruption of the massive underwater volcano.
— Doc V (@MJVentrice) January 15, 2022
Doctor Shane Cronin, Professor of Earth Sciences at the University of Auckland told the ABC that the volcano could erupt again within days of the first eruption but that Saturday’s was probably the biggest we will experience.
“When I looked at the past deposits from this volcano … there was evidence for many, many eruptions during each episode,”
“So there still could be more chapters to come in the story.”
Australian and New Zealand are sending surveillant flights to Tonga to assess the damage.
The NZ defence force sent an aircraft Monday morning to assist with the impact assessment and the Foreign Affairs Minister, Marise Payne said the Royal Australian Air Force “were undertaking surveillance activity over the affected area”.