An underwater volcano in Tonga has erupted sending ash, gas and smoke soaring thousands of metres into the air.
The Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha’apai submarine volcano is located north-west of Tonga’s capital and started exploding yesterday.
Plumes of smoke were sent out of the volcano and reached heights of around 4,500 meters (14,765 feet), according to the Wellington Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre.
The volcanic activity even turned surrounding waters blood red, with people on social media sharing their pictures. One user called Ana Panuve, posted on Twitter, "Driving along Hala Vuna. Saw all these people taking pics of the sea. Stopped by to join the hype!", along with a photo of the red-coloured water.
The volcano has also disrupted air travel: an Air New Zealand flight from Auckland to Nuku'alofa and several Virgin Australia flights to Tonga were cancelled due to the ash.
The volcano first erupted back in 2009 but there has been recent activity since 20 December last year.
Brad Scott, a volcanologist from the Institute of Geological & Nuclear Science in New Zealand told Radio Australia, “Traditionally the Tongan eruptions aren’t long-lived, maybe a few weeks to a month or two.” However, Scott explained that there was no way to how gauge how long the activity would last.
Scientists from New Zealand have been called to the island of Tonga to monitor and gain information on the volcano.Reuse content