Heard hundreds of kilometers around, a volcanic eruption forced the inhabitants of the Tonga Islands to flee to the heights this Saturday, January 15. A tsunami of nearly 1.2 meters was triggered by a new eruption of the submarine volcano Hunga Tonga Hunga Ha’apai.
Several residents shared videos of the disaster on social media. According to Fijian authorities, “the eruption lasted eight minutes and was so strong that it was heard ‘like distant thunder’ in the Fiji Islands, more than 800 km away”.
Several impressive images of the explosion seen from different satellites are circulating.
The violent eruption a few hours ago of the Hunga Tonga-Hunga Haʻapai volcano captured by satellites GOES-West and Himawari-8. pic.twitter.com/PzV5v9apF6
— Wonder of Science (@wonderofscience) January 15, 2022
According to the Pompiers de France Twitter account, which shares satellite images of the eruption, the power of its explosion was equivalent to “a hundred times” the nuclear bomb used on Hiroshima (Japan) in 1945.
We see the shock wave reaching New Zealand and New Caledonia. pic.twitter.com/nOjo5mxgwW
– Firefighters of France (@PompiersFR) January 15, 2022
For its part, La Chaîne Météo relayed an impressive video of the first waves linked to the tsunami warning which had been issued to warn the inhabitants.
Video posted on social media by Dr Faka’iloatonga Taumoefolau shows the first tsunami waves hitting Tonga. An eruption at Hunga-Tonga-Hunga-Ha’apai caused a tsunami, with an on-site evacuation alert in Tonga. https://t.co/4DQthi7DBv
— The Weather Channel (@lachainemeteo) January 15, 2022
The sky also quickly turned black from the volcanic cloud, to the point that locals relayed a night with lightning when it was supposed to be day.
(@NewsInt_) January 15, 2022
In the United States, the meteorological services issued a tsunami warning on the west coast while Hawaii was affected by flooding. Chile’s National Emergency Office (Onemi) has also warned of the possibility of a minor tsunami reaching Easter Island and other Chilean archipelagos following the eruption of a volcano. in the Tonga Islands.