A massive underwater volcano that erupted just before sundown Friday sent waves several feet high smashing into the shores of the Pacific island nation of Tonga and triggered tsunami advisories from Australia to Canada, including the U.S. West Coast.
Plumes from the explosion reached more than 12 miles above sea level, according to the Tonga Geological Services. At its widest, the cloud caused by the ash and steam reached about 150 miles across, making it easily seen from satellites.
In Tonga, home to 105,000 people, the extent of the injuries and damage caused were still largely unknown. Communications were disrupted for hours, according to the Associated Press.
Waves flooded parts of the capital Nuku’alofa — just 40 miles from the site of the eruption — including parts of the grounds at the Royal Palace, according to Radio New Zealand.
On Twitter, a Tonga resident named Faka’iloatonga Taumoefolau posted a video on Saturday showing feet-high waves washing across a road into homes.
The activity from the Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha’apai volcano continued into Saturday morning with another, less powerful 10- to 15-minute-long eruption, according to the Tonga Geological Service.