(Reuters) – A Tonga submarine erupted on Saturday and triggered a tsunami alert for several South Pacific island nations, with images on TV showing the waves crashing into a house.
The tsunami waves were observed in the capital Tonga and the capital of American Samoa, a tsunami surveyor from the US said.
The 0410 GMT eruption of the Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha’apai submarine, located about 65 km (40 miles) north of Nuku’alofa, caused a 1.2-meter tsunami, the Australian Bureau of Meteorology said.
The agency is continuing to monitor the situation but no tsunami alert has been issued in the Australian outback, islands or territories.
A tsunami of 2.7 feet (83 cm) was observed by geysers at Tongan Nuku’alofa headquarters and 2 ft in waves in Pago Pago, the capital of American Samoa, Pacific Tsunami Warning Center said.
Fiji issued a tsunami warning, urging people to avoid beaches “due to strong currents and tidal waves.”
Jese Tuisinu, a radio news correspondent for Fiji One, posted a video on Twitter (NYSE 🙂 showing huge waves sweeping the surface, with people trying to escape the oncoming waves in their cars. “In some parts of Tonga it is very dark and people are rushing to safety because of the eruption,” he said.
A U.S. official later issued a warning for U.S. territory in American Samoa.
Tsunami waves reaching a height of 2 feet were observed by sea levels in the US regional capital in American Samoa following a volcanic eruption in Tonga, a U.S. observer said.
The risk of a tsunami continues and the fluctuations of the ocean floor and strong ocean currents are causing coastal hazards, it said.
The New Zealand Emergency Management Agency provided tsunami alert information to its northern and east coasts and areas that are expected to experience severe and unusual storms, as well as unknown coastal waves.
On Friday, the mountain sent ash, steam and air up to 20 km (12 miles) into the air, Tonga Geological Services said in a Facebook (NASDAQ 🙂 post. It has a radius of 260 km (160 miles).
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