See The Massive Volcanic Eruption That Triggered A Tsunami

By Doug Norrie | 4 months ago

volcano tsunami

Over the weekend, a tsunami was triggered when an ocean volcano erupted, causing a chain reaction that was felt almost across the globe. Emergency services in a number of different countries went on high alert in order to avoid major damage and life-threatening situations from the impending waves. The country of Tonga was particularly affected, with the damage in that country still somewhat unknown at the time of this writing. And now we are getting a sense of just what kind of volcanic eruption went down in order to trigger these tsunamis. 

The satellite images captured Tonga’s Hunga volcano erupting in the moment. It’s a terrifying and awe-inspiring sight to see the magnitude of this event. Captured from space, the video shows the event and the plume of smoke that comes right after. While it’s tough to tell from the video because of the overhead perspective, this plume of smoke from the eruption registered more than 15 miles high. Check out what triggered the tsunami: 

The Hunga volcano sits underwater about 20 miles from the southeast shore of parts of Tonga. Because of this proximity, tsunami warnings were issued almost immediately when the eruption registered on Richter scales in the area. But the effects of the eruption even triggered tsunami alerts as far away as California. They didn’t end up posing real danger there, but the waves were certainly much higher than normal. 

The Hunga volcano has been the source of significant activity over the years, though this eruption and ensuing tsunami was one of the worst events in some time. When the eruption happened, it rocked the volcano’s sea level crater and the impact immediately caused tsunami waves to ripple out from the source. The closes Tongan island, Tongatapu, was the one in the first direct line and closest to the source. 

As it stands right now, the damage to Tonga from the tsunami isn’t fully known. The effects of the massive waves served to cut power and internet service to the country and according to AP News, as of late Sunday night, none of those had been restored. It’s left a communication with those in the island country virtually impossible. The countries of Australia and New Zealand had been working on sending surveillance flights to assess the damage and bring aid as well, but even that was difficult over the weekend. That’s because dust clouds from the eruption were making air travel in the area nearly impossible. 

Early Monday, officials from Australia (via Reuters) were able to get some initial boots on the ground to see the effects of the tsunami. From their initial reporting, it appeared that Tonga had largely avoided significant human casualties, likely because the warnings got out in time. But there were reports of significant structural damage to homes and buildings in the path of the tsunami. And another side effect of this disaster was that the country’s major water supplies had been compromised because of the aforementioned ash. In all, this tsunami was a major event, happening in almost the blink of an eye when the Hunga volcano erupted.