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Boom, splash: Pacific volcano sends waves across ocean

A satellite image shows the eruption of a volcano near Tonga. Associated Press/Japan Meteorology Agency

Boom, splash: Pacific volcano sends waves across ocean

People in the island nation of Tonga took cover Saturday as an undersea volcano about 40 miles from the capital city erupted and triggered a tsunami. The eruption damaged an underwater cable that carries internet to Tonga, making it difficult to get reports of injuries. Some social media videos showed large waves swirling around homes, a church, and other buildings. A Tongan Twitter user identified as Dr. Faka'iloatonga Taumoefolau posted that he could hear the volcano erupting, saying it was “raining ash and tiny pebbles, darkness blanketing the sky.” New Zealand and Australia managed to deploy military surveillance flights to Tonga on Monday to assess the damage

How far did the waves reach? Tsunami advisories were issued for Hawaii, Alaska, and the U.S. Pacific coast. Most of the waves were only a few feet high, but officials warned beachgoers to stay away because tsunami waves contain strong surges that can pull people out to sea. Satellite images showed a 3-mile-wide cloud of ash and steam rising 12 miles above the sea over the volcano.

Dig deeper: Read John Dawson’s report in Beginnings about how scientists try to predict volcanic eruptions.

Lynde Langdon

Lynde is editor of WORLD Digital. She is a graduate of World Journalism Institute, the Missouri School of Journalism, and the University of Missouri–St. Louis. Lynde resides with her family in Wichita, Kan.



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