2022 Hunga Tonga–Hunga Ha'apai eruption and tsunami: Difference between revisions

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On 14 January 2022, a very large [[volcanic eruption|eruption]] on [[Hunga Tonga–Hunga Haʻapai]], an uninhabited [[volcanic island]] of the [[Tonga]]n archipelago in the southern [[Pacific Ocean]], began. The eruption reached a powerful climax on the next day, 15 January. Hunga Tonga is {{cvt|65|km}} north of [[Tongatapu]], the country's main island,<ref>{{cite gvp|vn=243040|name=Hunga Tonga–Hunga Ha'apai}}</ref> and is part of the highly active Tonga–[[Kermadec Islands]] [[volcanic arc]], a [[subduction zone]] extending from [[New Zealand]] north-northeast to [[Fiji]].<ref>Clift, Peter D.; Rose, Estelle F.; Shimizu, Nobumichi; Layne, Graham D.; Draut, Amy E.; and Regelous, Marcel. "Tracing the Evolving Flux From the Subducting Plate in the Tonga-Kermadec Arc System Using Boron in Volcanic Glass" ''Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta'' 65:19 (October 2001) {{doi|10.1016/S0016-7037(01)00670-6}}</ref><ref name="Gupta">Gupta, Alok K. ''Igneous Rocks'' Mumbai, India: Allied Publishers, 1998 {{ISBN|81-7023-784-X}}</ref> The eruption caused [[tsunami]]s in Tonga, Fiji, [[American Samoa]], [[Vanuatu]], and along the Pacific rim, including damaging tsunamis in New Zealand, [[Japan]], the [[United States]], the [[Russian Far East]], [[Chile]], and [[Peru]]. At least three people were killed, some were injured, and many remain missing in Tonga from tsunami waves up to {{cvt|15|m}} high. Two people drowned in Peru when a {{cvt|2|m|ft}} wave struck the coast. Preliminary data indicate that the event was probably the [[List of large volcanic eruptions in the 21st century|largest volcanic eruption in the 21st century]], and the largest recorded since the [[1991 eruption of Mount Pinatubo]].<ref name=":2">{{cite web|title=Tonga eruption likely the world's largest in 30 years|url=https://www.rnz.co.nz/news/world/459657/tonga-eruption-likely-the-world-s-largest-in-30-years|website=rnz.co.nz|date=17 January 2022|access-date=16 January 2022|archive-date=16 January 2022|archive-url=https://web.archive.org/web/20220116200252/https://www.rnz.co.nz/news/world/459657/tonga-eruption-likely-the-world-s-largest-in-30-years-scientist|url-status=live}}</ref> [[NASA]] said that the eruption was more powerful than an [[atomic bomb]].<ref>{{Cite news|date=2022-01-24|title=Tonga volcano: Eruption more powerful than atomic bomb, Nasa says|language=en-GB|work=BBC News|url=https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-60106981|access-date=2022-01-24}}</ref>
On 14 January 2022, a very large [[volcanic eruption|eruption]] on [[Hunga Tonga–Hunga Haʻapai]], an uninhabited [[volcanic island]] of the [[Tonga]]n archipelago in the southern [[Pacific Ocean]], began. The eruption reached a powerful climax on the next day, 15 January. Hunga Tonga is {{cvt|65|km}} north of [[Tongatapu]], the country's main island,<ref>{{cite gvp|vn=243040|name=Hunga Tonga–Hunga Ha'apai}}</ref> and is part of the highly active Tonga–[[Kermadec Islands]] [[volcanic arc]], a [[subduction zone]] extending from [[New Zealand]] north-northeast to [[Fiji]].<ref>Clift, Peter D.; Rose, Estelle F.; Shimizu, Nobumichi; Layne, Graham D.; Draut, Amy E.; and Regelous, Marcel. "Tracing the Evolving Flux From the Subducting Plate in the Tonga-Kermadec Arc System Using Boron in Volcanic Glass" ''Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta'' 65:19 (October 2001) {{doi|10.1016/S0016-7037(01)00670-6}}</ref><ref name="Gupta">Gupta, Alok K. ''Igneous Rocks'' Mumbai, India: Allied Publishers, 1998 {{ISBN|81-7023-784-X}}</ref> The eruption caused [[tsunami]]s in Tonga, Fiji, [[American Samoa]], [[Vanuatu]], and along the Pacific rim, including damaging tsunamis in New Zealand, [[Japan]], the [[United States]], the [[Russian Far East]], [[Chile]], and [[Peru]]. At least three people were killed, some were injured, and many remain missing in Tonga from tsunami waves up to {{cvt|15|m}} high. Two people drowned in Peru when a {{cvt|2|m}} wave struck the coast. Preliminary data indicate that the event was probably the [[List of large volcanic eruptions in the 21st century|largest volcanic eruption in the 21st century]], and the largest recorded since the [[1991 eruption of Mount Pinatubo]].<ref name=":2">{{cite web|title=Tonga eruption likely the world's largest in 30 years|url=https://www.rnz.co.nz/news/world/459657/tonga-eruption-likely-the-world-s-largest-in-30-years|website=rnz.co.nz|date=17 January 2022|access-date=16 January 2022|archive-date=16 January 2022|archive-url=https://web.archive.org/web/20220116200252/https://www.rnz.co.nz/news/world/459657/tonga-eruption-likely-the-world-s-largest-in-30-years-scientist|url-status=live}}</ref> [[NASA]] said that the eruption was more powerful than an [[atomic bomb]].<ref>{{cite news|date=2022-01-24|title=Tonga volcano: Eruption more powerful than atomic bomb, Nasa says|publisher=BBC News|url=https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-60106981 |access-date=2022-01-24}}</ref>


== Volcanic activity ==
== Volcanic activity ==

Revision as of 23:06, 24 January 2022

2022 Hunga Tonga eruption and tsunami
Tonga Volcano Eruption 2022-01-15 0410Z to 0550Z.gif
Satellite animation of the initial ash plume and shockwave on 15 January over a period of 1 hour and 40 minutes
VolcanoHunga Tonga–Hunga Haʻapai
Start date14 January 2022
End dateOngoing
LocationPacific Ocean, Tonga
20°33′00″S 175°23′06″W / 20.550°S 175.385°W / -20.550; -175.385 (Hunga Tonga)
Impact5 dead, 4+ injured, and others reported missing
Hunga Tonga is located in Tonga
Hunga Tonga
Hunga Tonga
Hunga Tonga is located in Pacific Ocean
Hunga Tonga
Hunga Tonga

On 14 January 2022, a very large eruption on Hunga Tonga–Hunga Haʻapai, an uninhabited volcanic island of the Tongan archipelago in the southern Pacific Ocean, began. The eruption reached a powerful climax on the next day, 15 January. Hunga Tonga is 65 km (40 mi) north of Tongatapu, the country's main island,[1] and is part of the highly active Tonga–Kermadec Islands volcanic arc, a subduction zone extending from New Zealand north-northeast to Fiji.[2][3] The eruption caused tsunamis in Tonga, Fiji, American Samoa, Vanuatu, and along the Pacific rim, including damaging tsunamis in New Zealand, Japan, the United States, the Russian Far East, Chile, and Peru. At least three people were killed, some were injured, and many remain missing in Tonga from tsunami waves up to 15 m (49 ft) high. Two people drowned in Peru when a 2 m (6 ft 7 in) wave struck the coast. Preliminary data indicate that the event was probably the largest volcanic eruption in the 21st century, and the largest recorded since the 1991 eruption of Mount Pinatubo.[4] NASA said that the eruption was more powerful than an atomic bomb.[5]

Volcanic activity

After staying relatively inactive since 2014,[6] the Hunga Tonga volcano erupted on 20 December 2021, sending particulates into the stratosphere. A large plume of ash was visible from Nukuʻalofa, the capital city of Tonga, about 70 km (43 mi) from the volcano.[7] The Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC) in Wellington, New Zealand, issued an advisory notice to airlines.[8] This initial eruption ended at 02:00 on 21 December 2021.[7] Volcanic activity continued, and on 25 December 2021, the island had increased in size on satellite imagery.[9] As activity on the island decreased, it was declared dormant on 11 January 2022.[10][11]

A four-hour observation of the January 2022 eruption over the southern Pacific Ocean from the GOES-West satellite
Shockwave from the Hunga Tonga eruption captured by GOES-17 (GOES-West) and shown using the Mid-level Water Vapor.

A large eruption commenced on 14 January 2022 at 04:20 local time, sending clouds of ash 20 km (12 mi) into the atmosphere.[12][13] The government of Tonga issued a tsunami warning to residents, and waves of 30 cm (12 in) were observed in Nuku'alofa.[12] Later in the afternoon, Tongan geologists near the volcano observed explosions and a 5 km (3.1 mi)-wide ash column between 17:00 and 18:30 local time.[14]

A much larger eruption started the following day (15 January 2022) at 17:14 local time (04:14:45 UTC, 15 January).[15] The eruption column from this eruption may have risen as much as 55 km (34 mi) into the mesosphere.[16] The VAAC again issued an advisory notice to airlines.[17] Ash from the eruption made landfall on the main island of Tongatapu, blotting out the sun. Loud explosions were heard 65 km (40 mi) away in Nukuʻalofa, and small stones and ash rained down from the sky.[18] Many residents in Tonga were stuck in traffic whilst attempting to flee to higher ground.[19]

The explosion was heard in Samoa, roughly 840 km (520 mi) away, before the sound travelled to more distant countries.[20][21] Residents in Fiji, more than 700 km (430 mi) away, described the sounds of thunder, while the "thump" of the eruption was also reported in Niue and Vanuatu.[22] Tremors and shaking buildings were reported by residents in southwestern Niue, around Alofi and Avatele.[23] The eruption was heard more than 2,000 km (1,200 mi) away in New Zealand, where the sound arrived two hours later.[24] A series of bangs were heard around 3:30 a.m. local time in and around Anchorage, Alaska, approximately 9,700 km (6,000 mi) away from the volcano, lasting about 30 minutes. Low-frequency noise persisted for approximately two hours.[25] Booms were heard as far away as Yukon in Canada.[26][27]

Satellites captured a very wide eruption column and shockwaves propagating across the Pacific Ocean.[26] The pressure wave was measured by weather stations throughout New Zealand at a maximum amplitude of about 7 hPa.[28] The pressure wave was also recorded by weather stations in Australia, with 6.9 hPa measured at Lord Howe Island and 3.3 hPa at Perth, Western Australia.[29][30][31][32] A pressure fluctuation of 2.5 hPa was measured in Switzerland,[33] and of just over 2 hPa when it reached the United Kingdom.[34] The United States Geological Survey (USGS) estimated the eruption at a surface-wave magnitude of 5.8.[15] Shockwaves were reported as having gone around the earth as many as four times in Japan and Utah,[35][36] and at least twice at the Blue Hill Meteorological Observatory in Massachusetts.[37] The pressure shockwave was also observed in Chennai, India, which is 12,000 km from the eruption site.[38]

Intense lightning activity was recorded during the eruption phase. The Vaisala National Lightning Detection Network detected the lightning in the form of radio waves. Several hundred to a thousand flashes of lightning were recorded by the system during the two weeks prior to the eruption. From 14 to 15 January 2022, tens of thousands of lightning flashes occurred.[39] Between 05:00 and 06:00 UTC on 15 January 2022, 200,000 flashes were recorded.[39][40]

Preliminary observations showed that the eruption column ejected a large amount of volcanic material into the stratosphere, leading to speculation that it would cause a temporary climate cooling effect.[41] Later calculations showed it injected an estimated 400,000 tonnes of sulfur dioxide into the stratosphere and was unlikely to have any global cooling effect.[42] Despite this, the eruption can have a cooling effect in the Southern Hemisphere, causing slight cooling of winters and spectacular sunsets. People living in the Southern Hemisphere can expect purple sunsets for a few months after the eruption. A cooling effect of 0.1–0.5 °C (0.18–0.90 °F) may last until spring (September–November) 2022.[43] The eruption was described as as a once-in-a-thousand-years event for the Hunga caldera, and the event could rank as high as 5 on the volcanic explosivity index (VEI).[44][45][4]

Tsunamis are most frequently caused by earthquakes, while those caused by volcanic eruptions are rare.[46][47] Fewer than 100 volcanic tsunamis were recorded in the prior two centuries.[46]

Tsunami

Oceania

Nuku’alofa Tonga
video icon Video of the tsunami waves hitting the capital, filmed by a resident, Mamani moe me’a fakaofō on YouTube.
A satellite image of the Hunga Tonga eruption with the remnants of Tropical Cyclone Cody to its southwest late on 15 January 2022.

As a result of the eruption, a 1.2 m (3 ft 11 in) tsunami[48] struck the Tongan capital Nukuʻalofa.[10][49] Tide gauges in the city recorded waves 1.5–2 m (4 ft 11 in – 6 ft 7 in) in height.[50] Videos posted on the Internet showed a series of waves hitting the shore and homes, sweeping away debris.[51] Other videos show ashfall and a cloud of ash obscuring the sun.[10] According to a resident in the Tongan capital, a series of initial smaller explosions were heard. It was followed by a tsunami approximately 15 minutes later. The first wave was said to be the largest. A long white wave was observed out at sea approaching the coast. Three waves reportedly struck the coast.[52] In the wake of the tsunami, King Tupou VI was evacuated from the Royal Palace and traffic jams formed as locals fled inland or to higher ground.[53]

Based on an unofficial first-hand account of the tsunami in Tonga, Risklayer developed a tsunami inundation map. From the map, a tsunami with a height of 15 m (49 ft) or greater may have struck the west coast of the island of Tongatapu, where heavy damage was inflicted.[54] The Tongan government, on 18 January 2022, confirmed waves of up to 15 m (49 ft) struck the west coast of Tongatapu, 'Eua and Ha'apai islands.[55]

In Fiji, a tidal gauge in Suva recorded a wave measuring 20 cm (7.9 in) at 17:40 local time. Some tsunami activity was also reported in the Lau Islands.[50] The islands of Moce, Moala, Kadavu, and Taveuni were struck by low-level tsunamis that triggered flooding.[56]

In American Samoa, a tsunami measuring 61 cm (24 in) was recorded by tide gauges.[26] Niue, where residents evacuated coastal areas, reported no tsunami, despite tremors and the island's close proximity to Tonga.[23]

Tsunami waves of 1–2.5 m (3 ft 3 in – 8 ft 2 in) were observed in several islands in Vanuatu. The Vanuatu Meteorology and Geo-hazards Department said tsunami activity was expected to persist for the night of 15 January 2022.[57] Waves up to 0.8 m (2 ft 7 in) in height were recorded in Hanalei, Hawaii.[58]

A combination of a cyclone surge from Cyclone Cody and the tsunami caused extensive damage at a marina in Tutukaka in New Zealand.[59] The waves pulled boats away from their moorings, taking some out into the bay and smashing some together, as well as damaging the structures at the marina. About eight to ten boats were completely sunken, with the total damage estimated to be worth millions of dollars.[60] According to Hauraki Gulf Weather, the tsunami struck on 16 January 2022 at between 01:05 and 01:10 local time on Great Barrier Island with a height of 1.33 m (4 ft 4 in).[61] The tsunami caused flooding at Mahinepua Bay, where a campsite was located; all 50 individuals at the site were safe. A group of fishers in Hokianga Harbour had to run for their lives to escape the waves, and reported having to drive through water over 1 m (3 ft 3 in) deep.[62] There were no casualties reported in New Zealand.[63]

In Australia, the Bureau of Meteorology said tsunami waves were observed throughout Saturday night on the shores along the east coast of Australia.[64] Maximum tsunami waves of 1.27 m (4 ft 2 in) were recorded at Norfolk Island, 1.10 m (3 ft 7 in) at Lord Howe Island, 0.82 m (2 ft 8 in) at the Gold Coast, Queensland, 0.77 m (2 ft 6 in) at Twofold Bay, New South Wales, and 0.50 m (1 ft 8 in) at Hobart, Tasmania.[65][66]

Asia

In Kominato, Amami, Kagoshima, Japan, a 1.2 m (3 ft 11 in) tsunami was reported at 23:55 on 15 January 2022 JST. At Tosashimizu, Kōchi, the tsunami was 0.9 m (2 ft 11 in) in height.[67][68] A tsunami measuring 0.9 m (2 ft 11 in) was also reported in Chichijima Futami.[69] On the Tohoku coast, a 0.7 m (2 ft 4 in) wave struck at 00:38 local time, on 16 January 2022. In the Sendai Port, the tsunami measured 0.9 m (2 ft 11 in) at 00:08.[70] In Iwate Prefecture, a 1.1 m (3 ft 7 in) tsunami was recorded at 02:26 on 16 January. Tsunami waves of less than a metre were reported along the Hokkaido Pacific coast. This was the nation's first tsunami warning since the 2016 Fukushima earthquake.[71] The JMA said that the tsunami struck 2.5 hours earlier than predicted.[72]

Small tsunami waves were observed on the coast of Taiwan. The heights of the tsunami were: 0.4 m (1 ft 4 in) at Houbi Lake in Pingtung County, followed by 0.38 m (1 ft 3 in) on Orchid Island, Taitung County, 0.36 m (1 ft 2 in) in Yilan County, 0.31 m (1 ft 0 in) in Su'ao, and 0.29 m (11 in) at Hualien County. Waves were also observed at Chenggong with a height of 0.25 m (9.8 in), and at Kaohsiung for 0.24 m (9.4 in).[73]

In Jeju Island, South Korea, there were fluctuations of up to 15–20 cm (5.9–7.9 in) in the sea level.[74]

Russia's Kuril Islands, in the country's far east, had tsunami waves of about 20 cm (7.9 in).[75][76] At least two ports were warned.[76]

Americas

In Peru, two people were killed in Lambayeque, where the tsunami measured 2 m (6 ft 7 in).[77] Waves measuring 0.68 m (2 ft 3 in) were recorded in the port of Callao, 0.72 m (2 ft 4 in) in Marcona District and 0.65 m (2 ft 2 in) in Paita.[78]

The highest tsunami waves in the United States were 1.3 m (4 ft 3 in) in Port San Luis in San Luis Obispo County (Southern California) and 1.1 m (3 ft 7 in) in both Arena Cove and Crescent City (Northern California).[75][79] Significant waves hit the Santa Cruz Harbor,[80] and its parking lot was flooded with about 0.91 m (3 ft 0 in) of water,[79] while Soquel Creek in the neighboring city of Capitola flowed backwards.[81] A surfing competition was cancelled.[82] Strong currents in Half Moon Bay were reported,[80] while small waves were observed at Seal Beach.[83] Waves up to 0.37 m (1 ft 3 in) in height were recorded in Nikolski, Alaska.[84]

There was an unusually high tide along the coasts of British Columbia and Vancouver Island. At 11:55 am local time, the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center (PTWC) said tide levels rose 29 cm (11 in) in Winter Harbour. Large tree logs were pushed up by the high tides and left on the beaches.[85]

On the Mexican coasts of the states of Guerrero, Oaxaca, and Baja California Peninsula, sea level rise was reported with waves of 30 cm (12 in) to 61 cm (24 in).[86] A maximum tide level of 2.05 m (6 ft 9 in) was measured at Manzanillo, Colima, according to the Mareographic Service of the Institute of Geophysics of the National Autonomous University of Mexico. The tsunami had an amplitude of 1.19 m (3 ft 11 in) in Zihuatanejo. Waves of just under 1 m (3 ft 3 in) were recorded in Acapulco, Huatulco, and Salina Cruz.[87]

In northern Chile, waves of up to 2 m (6 ft 7 in) struck the coastline. Videos and images on social media from the Los Ríos Region showed the tsunami damaging piers, carrying boats and hitting beaches.[88] A tsunami of 1.74 m (5 ft 9 in) was measured at Chañaral.[89]

Minor tsunamis were measured as far away as the Caribbean Sea and Texas, with National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) reporting a maximum rise of 12 cm (4.7 in) at the Isla de Mona in Puerto Rico at 16:11 UTC.[90] These may have been meteo-tsunamis related to slight atmospheric pressure changes.[91]

Response

14 January

A tsunami warning was issued on 14 January in Tonga after an eruption was observed. Volcanic activity decreased following that eruption and the warning was lifted in the early morning of 15 January. A 30 cm (12 in) wave was observed during the first tsunami warning.[92]

15 January

A tsunami warning signboard at Gesashi Bay Mangrove Forest, Okinawa Prefecture, Japan

Another warning was issued to the whole of Tonga on the evening of 15 January 2022 following the next eruption.[92] Warning sirens blared in Nukuʻalofa while authorities urged residents to flee to higher ground.[93]

The Mineral Resources Department in Fiji issued advisories to people living around the coastal areas to stay away from the shores.[94] Evacuations were made on the Lau Islands after wave activity was observed in the sea.[50] Fiji's Attorney General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum urged the public to stay indoors and cover household water tanks in the event of rain due to the risk of fallout of sulfuric acid from the SO
2
emitted in the air by the eruption.[95] In Wallis and Futuna, a tsunami warning was issued, but no damage was reported and the alert was lifted in the evening of 15 January 2022.[96]

Tsunami warnings were also issued to American Samoa by the PTWC.[97][98] The PTWC considered the tsunami "hazardous" and warned that changes in sea level, as well as strong currents, could pose a risk along the coast.[99] Samoa later issued a tsunami advisory.[100] The PTWC later cancelled the tsunami warning for American Samoa.[101]

The National Emergency Management Agency of New Zealand told residents to expect "strong and unusual currents and unpredictable surges" along the north and east coast of North Island, as well as the Chatham Islands.[102] The agency added that the currents have the potential to injure and drown people.[103]

A tsunami warning was issued by the Bureau of Meteorology in Australia, with a land warning issued for Norfolk Island and Lord Howe Island, and a marine warning for the east coast of Australia, Tasmania, and Macquarie Island.[65] On 16 January, at 06:55 AEDT (15 January 2022, 19:55 UTC), tsunami marine warnings were issued to New South Wales, Queensland, Victoria, and Tasmania for strong and dangerous currents.[104]

The Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA) informed residents that a slight disturbance in the sea could occur without any damage.[58] The tsunami would not pose a threat to the Japanese coastline. Officials from the JMA said that sea level rise of no more than 20 cm (7.9 in) could be expected for 24 hours from 9:00 p.m. Japan Standard Time (UTC+9).[105] A tsunami warning was issued in the Amami Islands and Tokara Islands by the JMA with forecasted waves of up to 3 m (9.8 ft). Additional warnings were issued to the east and southeast coast for waves of up to 1 m (3 ft 3 in).[106] A warning and evacuation order was issued to Iwate Prefecture, and evacuation orders were also issued to six other prefectures. The Fire and Disaster Management Agency (FDMA) said that 229,000 residents living in the eight prefectures were evacuated.[107] Japan downgraded its warnings the following morning. Russia issued a tsunami advisory for the Kuril Islands.[75]

The National Tsunami Warning Center issued a tsunami advisory along the West Coast of the United States and British Columbia, Canada.[108][109] The advisory contained all U.S. areas along the West Coast from Southern California to Alaska.[110] Beaches were closed,[111] and coastal residents were requested to move to higher ground.[112] A surfing contest with over 100 participants was cancelled in Santa Cruz, California.[79][113] Tsunami waves measuring 30–61 cm (12–24 in) were expected to hit the shores as early as 7:30 a.m. Pacific Standard Time (UTC−8) along the Central Coast.[108] San Francisco was expected to receive waves at 8:10.[114] The highest tsunami waves are expected one to two hours after the arrival of the first waves.[108] A tsunami advisory was put in place for the entirety of Hawaii.[115] Advisories in Canada were issued along the North and Central coasts of British Columbia, along with the Haida Gwaii archipelago and Vancouver Island. No evacuation order was issued, but people were urged to avoid beaches and marinas. The warning level was low due to the height of reported waves, as they were below the 91 cm (36 in) threshold which would warrant an upgrade.[116] By 12:35 local time, the tsunami advisory for British Columbia would be cancelled.[117] By the evening, the United States lifted advisories for Alaska, Hawaii, Washington, Oregon and portions of California. They remained in effect in California in parts of the Central and North Coast until early the following day.[75][118]

No warnings were issued to Peru initially. After the tsunami struck, authorities stopped all maritime activities at the coast. Twenty-two ports along north and central Peru were closed due to tsunami activity.[119]

Chile also issued a warning for a "minor tsunami" for most of its coastal area, including the island of Rapa Nui; evacuation was declared for 12 other regions.[120][121] The Hydrographic and Oceanographic Service of the Chilean Navy declared a "State of Precaution" and indicated that there is a possibility of a minor tsunami in the affected regions. Later, coastal evacuation notices were issued in 14 of the 16 regions in Chile. A "Red alert" level was issued to more than 6,400 km (4,000 mi) of its coastline. The Chilean National Office for Emergency (ONEMI) said that tsunami activity could persist overnight, so those impacted would need to hold onto their emergency supplies and aid.[88]

Ecuador issued a warning of maritime disturbance for the Galápagos Islands.[122]

Mexico issued tsunami warnings for the coasts of states of Baja California, Jalisco, Colima, Michoacán, Guerrero, Oaxaca, and Chiapas, urging people to avoid the coasts and entering the sea.[123]

Subsequent days

A tsunami advisory was issued to American Samoa following a new eruption at the volcano on 16 January. The advisory was cancelled almost two hours later.[124] A tsunami alert that was issued to Fiji on 15 January was cancelled.[125]

On 17 January, the Department of Environment in Fiji confirmed that the sulfur dioxide concentration in the atmosphere increased overnight. As previously advised, the department urged the public to cover all household water tanks and stay indoors in the event of acid rain. The Ministry of Environment also advised the public not to consume rainwater.[126][127]

The first aid planes from New Zealand and Australia arrived on Tonga on 20 January, as phone lines were partially restored.[128][129]

On 20 January, the Japanese Government dispatched two C-130H via Australia to Tonga. Subsequently, the Japanese Ministry of Defense decided to send JS Osumi with 60,000 l (13,000 imp gal; 16,000 US gal) of drinking water, high-pressure cleaning devices for removing volcanic ash, and two CH-47J onboard. The Ministry had also deployed its C-2 transport aircraft loaded with additional relief supplies.[130] The Japanese Government has also planned to offer more than ¥ 114 million (US$1 million) in funds for Tonga.[131]

Impact

Countries Deaths Injuries Missing Ref.
Tonga 3 Some Some [132][133][134]
Peru 2 0 0 [77]
United States 0 3 0 [135]
Japan 0 1 0 [136]
Total 5 4+ Some

Tonga

Little information was made available on the extent of damage and casualties from Tonga due to communication issues involving a damaged undersea cable.[58] Video footage showing waves hitting coastal areas in Tonga was reported by Sky News.[137] Atatā, a small island off the capital city, was reportedly submerged and rescue operations were being carried out. Images confirmed that most of the island have been wiped out; the New Zealand Defence Force described the damages as "catastrophic".[138] There were some reports of residents in Tonga struggling to breathe as a result of the ash.[139][140]

File:Tongatapu west coast 4.png
Effects of the tsunami on the Hihifo peninsula of Tongatapu.

According to a media release by the government via a tweet, all structures were destroyed on Mango Island. Only two buildings remained intact on Fonoifua Island, and Nomuka Island suffered major damage. Twenty-one homes were destroyed and another 35 were seriously damaged on Tongatapu's west coast. Eight homes were demolished and 20 seriously damaged in Nukuʻalofa. ʻEua Island saw the loss of 2 homes and 45 damaged.[55] An assessment by the United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR) revealed extensive damage on Atatā Island; at least 72 buildings were affected by the tsunami and the whole island was blanketed by ash.[141] Early reports said Atatā Island, which is located off the main Tongan island near Nukuʻalofa, was submerged by the tsunami.[139] A Facebook post by the Royal Sunset Island Resort on the island said all residents were accounted for and safely evacuated.[141] On Tongatapu, 50 homes were destroyed and 100 more suffered damage.[142]

A New Zealand government official in the capital Nukuʻalofa said extensive damage occurred on the waterfront of the city, as it was severely hit by the tsunami.[143] Acting High Commissioner Peter Lund said that several people were unaccounted for following the eruption and tsunami.[133] Tattoo parlour owner Angela Glover, a British resident in Tonga was among the people missing, swept away by the tsunami when it hit Nukuʻalofa.[144] Glover's body was later found.[145] Though the extent of the damage in Tonga is still not clear, a blanket of thick ash has contaminated water supplies, cut off communications and prevented surveillance flights, making it difficult for relief efforts to begin.[146] Another fatality was confirmed by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade on 18 January.[147] Lund added that there is an unconfirmed third death from the tsunami.[148] This third death was identified as a local resident, and the Tongan government has confirmed three deaths were the result of the tsunami.[132] The Government of Tonga said that the two locals who died were from Mango and Nomuka islands respectively.[55] Government officials also added that an unspecified number of people were injured.[134]

A P-3K2 Orion aircraft flies over an area of Tonga that shows the heavy ash fall from the recent volcanic eruption within the Tongan Islands.

Photos shared by a resident on the island of Lifuka, northeast of Nukuʻalofa showed minor damage to island communities and a wharf. Damage suggests the island was hit by smaller waves. The islands of ʻUiha and Haʻano also sustained limited damage from the tsunami. Several photographs showed debris left by the tsunami strewn across a road and on grass fields.[149] Owners of the Ha'atafu Beach Resort wrote on Facebook that their beach resort, located at the northern tip of the island of Tongatapu, was completely destroyed. The employees were able to escape. They added that the whole western coastline of the island and Kanukupolu village were destroyed.[150] The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs stated that there was concern for two low-lying islands in the Haʻapai group, Fonoi and Mango, as a distress beacon had been detected on one of the islands (Fonoi has a population of 69 people, while Mango has 36 residents).[151] A surveillance flight confirmed "substantial property damage" on the two low-lying islands; the Tongan government later confirmed that all homes on Mango Island were destroyed.[152][153]

Southern Cross Cable reported that the eruption may have broken the Tonga Cable System, which connects Tonga to Southern Cross's trans-Pacific cable in Fiji.[154] Southern Cross cited a fault in the international cable 37 km (23 mi) from Nukuʻalofa, and a further fault in a domestic cable 47 km (29 mi) from Nukuʻalofa.[155] New Zealand prime minister Jacinda Ardern had earlier stated that an undersea cable serving Tonga was affected, probably due to power cuts, and authorities were urgently attempting to restore communications.[156] The chair of the Tonga Cable System, Samiuela Fonua, stated that repair crews would not be cleared to access the site of the faults before volcanic activity ceased at Hunga Tonga; with additional preparation time necessary for the repairs, internet services could be unavailable for over two weeks after the eruption.[157] Repairs are not expected to begin until 1 February.[158]

Severe damage on the west coast of Tongatapu was confirmed by the New Zealand High Commission in Tonga on 17 January.[159] Surveillance flights by the Australian Defence Forces reported extensive damage along the west coast.[160] The shores of Nuku’alofa have substantial damage as debris and rocks were deposited inland by the tsunami waves, according to an early report from the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA). A 2 cm (0.79 in) layer of volcanic ash blanketed the capital Nuku’alofa.[161]

Satellite images of Nomuka island showed that nearly a fifth of the structures have been damaged, with more than 40 buildings covered in ash.[162] The Fua’amotu International Airport was covered with ash and dirt.[163] There were also reports of water damage in the district of Nuku’alofa.[164] The Tongan navy that was dispatched to Ha’apai islands reported significant damage, where a tsunami estimated to be between 5–10 m (16–33 ft) in height traveled as far as 500 m (1,600 ft) inland.[152]

Elsewhere

Volcanic ash from the eruption over Queensland, Australia on 17 January 2022

In Fiji, the eruption triggered waves in Vanua Balavu, Kadavu, Gau, and Taveuni. In the village of Moce, Lau Islands, the tsunami severely damaged some homes on the beaches. Debris was strewn across the village and boats were dragged inland.[165][166] There was sizeable damage to schools, infrastructure as well as fishing boats in the islands.[167]

One person in Itoman, Okinawa, Japan suffered a fall during the evacuations.[136] A number of fishing boats in Kōchi and Mie prefectures capsized or sank. A total of 30 fishing vessels were lost. In Muroto, five small boats sank and another five were lost. A small ship capsized and sank in Owase. The tsunami also damaged fishing nets on the coast of Tokushima Prefecture.[168] Land, sea and air transportation was affected; 27 domestic flights operated by Japan Air Lines were cancelled due to the warnings.[169]

The tsunami caused serious material damage to tour operator Sea Quest Hawaii at Kailua-Kona, Hawaii, where 80% of its inventory and gear was lost. Major damage to retail products and the business office totaled at least US$75,000.[170] Beaches and piers were flooded by the surging waves in the city. Canoes belonging to several clubs were damaged and strewn across the beach or on rock walls due to the waves. Boats were dumped inland or on piers after the waves retreated.[171]

The tsunami killed two women in Peru when a 2 m (6 ft 7 in) wave struck them at Naylamp Beach, Lambayeque, Peru. The two women were in a truck along with a driver, who was the husband of one of the women. When the wave struck, the male occupant escaped; the women did not.[77] Twenty-two ports along north and central Peru were closed due to the tsunami. Substantial material damage was done to coastal businesses and the beach areas. Videos showed the tsunami flooding the streets.[119] Along the coast of Peru, the tsunami was damaging. Restaurants and boats in Lagunillas beach and San Andrés District were damaged by waves. Many beachgoers were evacuated to safety while businesses closed.[172] Damage to piers and some homes occurred in the capital, Lima. In some areas, boat owners dragged their boats onto shore to prevent the waves from damaging them.[173][174] The Peruvian Civil Defense Institute said on 17 January that an oil spill occurred at the La Pampilla refinery. The spill was caused by tsunami waves moving a ship while transporting oil onto the refinery.[175] The oil spill affected some 1,187 km2 (458 sq mi) of sea and 1,740 km2 (670 sq mi) of beach-coastal strip, and more than 500 ha (1,200 acres) of protected natural areas in Peru.[176]

Despite the warnings from officials, some residents in California strayed too close to the sea, where they were swept away by strong surges, such as the situation at San Gregorio, California, where four fishermen were swept out to sea by the tsunami. Two of the men were injured and received medical treatment, while another two were rescued unhurt.[177] Another woman was rescued and treated by medical workers at China Beach, San Francisco.[135] San Francisco firefighters and the U.S. Coast Guard rescued three surfers.[79] The tsunami caused extensive damage at the Santa Cruz harbor in Santa Cruz, California. Electrical systems, pilings, restrooms and showers were damaged and repair costs were estimated at US$6.5 million.[178]

Minor material damage occurred on the coast of Penco, and six people were trapped in Coliumo (near Tomé), in Chile's Biobío Region.[179] No casualties were reported due to the evacuations. A State of Precaution is still in place in Atacama, Coquimbo, Ñuble and Biobío as of 16 January 2022.

Flights to Tonga and in the surrounding region were disrupted by lingering volcanic ash. Air New Zealand stated that a repatriation flight to Tonga that was originally scheduled for 20 January was postponed indefinitely, and Fiji Airways announced that all flights to Tonga were postponed and several services to Australia could face delays and longer flight times.[180] An Aircalin flight from Tokyo to Nouméa was diverted to Brisbane to avoid volcanic ash, with a subsequent flight from Nouméa to Sydney placed on hold.[181] The ash cloud reached Queensland on 17 January, creating an "eerie, spectacular, and incredible" sunrise.[182]

Assistance

New Zealand's Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said officials in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs were discussing the provision of aid to Tonga.[183] Ardern described the events in Tonga as "hugely concerning".[139] On 16 January, she announced New Zealand was donating NZ$500,000, which was "very much the starting point". The Royal New Zealand Navy was preparing to sail and a RNZAF P-3 Orion would be sent on a reconnaissance flight as soon as it was safe to do so. The ash cloud was estimated at 19,000 m (62,000 ft) high, well above the Orion's service ceiling.[156] The C-130H Hercules airlift is ready to serve as well.[184] Following reports of no continued ashfall in Tonga, the P-3 Orion left RNZAF Base Auckland for Tonga on the morning of 17 January.[185] On 18 January, as an RNZAF Lockheed C-130 Hercules was unable to land following continued ashfall in Tonga, two Royal New Zealand Navy ships set sail for Tonga. HMNZS Wellington carried survey equipment and a helicopter, while HMNZS Aotearoa carried 250,000 L (55,000 imp gal; 66,000 US gal) of water and desalination equipment to produce a further 70,000 L (15,000 imp gal; 18,000 US gal) per day.[186] On 20 January, New Zealand announced that it would dispatch a third warship, HMNZS Canterbury with two NH90 helicopters to assist with relief efforts.[187]

Tonga has accepted an offer by the Australian government of a surveillance flight to assess the damage. Two Boeing P-8A Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft and a Lockheed C-130J Hercules of the Royal Australian Air Force departed on the morning of 17 January 2022 for Tonga to survey damage to roadways, ports and power lines.[188][189][190] The Australian and New Zealand governments also announced they were coordinating their humanitarian response with France and the United States.[191][192] Assistance from France is provided through the humanitarian aid mechanism of the FRANZ agreement with Australia and New Zealand.[193] Australia would later announce that HMAS Adelaide would be deployed to Tonga with water purification and humanitarian supplies.[194] The United States dispatched USS Sampson as well as a coast guard vessel while the United Kingdom deployed HMS Spey.[195]

On 17 January, officials in Tonga called for immediate aid. Speaker of the Legislative Assembly of Tonga Fatafehi Fakafanua in a social media post wrote that "Tonga needs immediate assistance to provide its citizens with fresh drinking water and food". The International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement and the Pacific Island Forum has offered its assistance.[196] Tearfund and Oxfam provided immediate assistance by supporting people with food and water. Oxfam has filtering units in Tongatapu which can turn salt water into drinking water. UNICEF will work with the Tongan government to reach affected children and families. The agency is also ready to transport its emergency supplies from Fiji and Brisbane.[197]

On 17 January, the Red Cross Society of China decided to provide US$100,000 of emergency humanitarian aid in cash to the Tongan side,[198] while the government of China said it would deliver a batch of disaster relief materials to Tonga at the request of the South Pacific island country.[199] On 18 January, the Singapore Red Cross Society pledged US$50,000 in aid to Tonga and also announced a fundraising effort to raise more help for those affected by the tsunami.[200] The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) Asia Pacific said that drinking water were hurriedly distributed to people in need due to the tsunami and ash affecting local water supply. The Tonga Red Cross provided temporary shelters and supplied water to affected communities. Emergency response teams were sent to Mango, Fonoifua and Namuka islands.[201]

Fiji's Attorney General and Acting Prime Minister Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum said that Fiji was working with New Zealand and Australia to coordinate regional relief efforts. He added that Fiji had offered to dispatch Republic of Fiji Military Forces (RFMF) personnel and engineers that would join the Australian Defence Force (ADF). Relief supplies would also be sent to the Lau group that was affected by the tsunami.[202][203]

Tongan Olympian flagbearer Pita Taufatofua, who became widely known during the 2016 Summer Olympics, gathered more than US$330,000 in aid to his native Tonga, after he opened a GoFundMe fundraising website.[204]

Gallery

See also

References

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