The United States and Japan have advised their citizens to stay away from shores as there are chances of a tsunami hitting their shores after Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha’apai erupted earlier today.
In Japan, the 1.2m tsunami was recorded in the Kominato district of Amami-Oshima Island in Kagoshima Prefecture at 23:55 (14:55 GMT) on Saturday. In contrast, Fiji and other islands have started preparing plans to shelter their citizens in case of a significant tsunami event.
Many places in Tonga are already in backout without internet access or communications. The loud “sonic boom” was also heard as far as Fiji and New Zealand, and Tsunami warnings were being issued in Australia.
Prof Shane Cronin, a volcanologist at the University of Auckland, said the eruption was one of the biggest in Tonga in the past 30 years.
“This is a pretty big event – it’s one of the more significant eruptions of the last decade at least,” he told the BBC.
“The most remarkable thing about it is how rapidly and violently it’s spread. This one was larger, [had] a much wider lateral spread, much more ash was produced. I expect there to be many centimetres of ash that have been deposited on Tonga.”