Tsunami waves caused by an underwater volcano have been observed in the capital of Tonga and the capital of American Samoa.
Australia’s Bureau of Meteorology said the Hunga Tonga-Hunga Hapai underwater volcano, located about 65 km (40 mi) north of Tonga’s capital Nuku’alofa, erupted at 0410 GMT on Friday, causing a 1.2-metre tsunami. I.
The agency said it is continuing to monitor the situation but has issued no tsunami threat to the Australian mainland, islands or territories.
The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center said tsunami waves of 2.7 feet (82 cm) were seen by gauge in the Tongan capital, and Pago Pago, the capital of American Samoa, saw waves of 2 feet.
The US-based monitor later canceled warnings for American Samoa and the US territory of Hawaii, but said the tsunami remained a threat to parts of the Pacific near the volcano.
Fiji issued a tsunami warning, urging residents to avoid the shoreline “due to strong currents and dangerous waves”.
Jesse Tuisinu, a television reporter from Fiji Forest, posted a video on Twitter of huge waves washing down the shore, with people in their cars trying to run away from the oncoming waves. “It is really dark in some parts of Tonga and people are moving to a safer place after the explosion,” he said.
New Zealand’s Emergency Management Agency issued an advisory on tsunami activity for its northern and eastern coasts, with areas expected to experience strong and unusual currents and unexpected surges along the coast.
Tonga Geological Services said in a Facebook post that on Friday the volcano sent ash, steam and gas up to 20 km into the air within a 260 km radius.