Video: Incredible images show underwater volcano creating wall of ash around Tongan island

The volcano has caused major disruption to air traffic in and out of Tonga

Click to follow
The Independent Online

Incredible images have been released showing the eruption ofTonga’s massive underwater volcano Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha’apa, as it continues to disrupt flights in and out of the country.

The new footage taken by geologists for the Tongan government yesterday shows the volcano erupting “every five minutes” and sending ash and smoke hundreds of metres up into the air.

One of the geologists said that the eruptions had now created a “wall of ash” around the whole island.

  The Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha’apai submarine volcano is situated about 40 miles north-west of Tonga’s capital Nukuʻalofa.

After rumbling consistently over the last couple of weeks, it erupted for the first time last weekend.

Since then, it has caused major disruption to both domestic and international flights on the small Polynesian island.

Several Air New Zealand flights have been affected too, with a flight on Monday between Auckland and Nukuʻalofa having to be diverted to Samoa due to poor visibility.

The Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha’apai is one of the many volcanos that line the Tonga Trench which lies on the Pacific Plate.

The last time the Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha’apai erupted was in 2009 and has not shown any activity up until it began rumbling in December last year.