According to the Japan Meteorological Agency, a tsunami caused by a massive underwater volcanic eruption off the coast of Tonga has reached Japan’s shores.
At 11:55 p.m. local time on Saturday (Jan 15), a 1.2-meter-high wave was recorded at the southern Amami and Tokara islands, where tsunami warnings were issued for waves that could reach 3 meters.
From Hokkaido to Okinawa, waves as small as one meter were reported in several locations along the coast.
Tsunami warnings have been issued for other coastal areas. People in those areas should avoid beaches and river mouths, according to NHK.
The Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department has not recorded any damage, according to Japanese network TBS News.
According to The Japan Times, the Japan Meteorological Agency indicated early on Saturday that there was a risk of small sea-level change but ruled out a destructive tsunami and did not issue an initial warning or alert.
Saturday’s explosion was equivalent to a 5.8 magnitude earthquake at zero depth, according to the US Geological Survey.
Felt All Across the World
Scientists reported on Sunday that the big underwater volcanic explosion was so powerful that it was recorded all across the world.
When a giant wave slammed into a marina in New Zealand, more than 2,300 kilometers from Tonga, 120 people migrated from northern coastal areas and several boats were wrecked.
The famed Bondi Beach in Sydney, Australia, was momentarily evacuated as a precaution, while coastal streets in Santa Cruz, California, were flooded and blocked to traffic.
The Alaska Volcano Observatory detected the eruption “6,000 miles from the volcano” in Anchorage and Fairbanks, according to the National Weather Service Alaska.
After the explosions caused a spike in its air pressure graph, the Fife weather station in Scotland tweeted that it was “just incredible to think of the power that can send a shockwave around the world.”
The government of Fiji has issued a tsunami warning, advising citizens to stay away from the coast “due to strong currents and dangerous waves.”
The Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha’apai volcano is located on an uninhabited island 65 kilometers north of Nuku’alofa, Tongan capital.
According to officials in Suva City, where photographs shared on social media showed massive waves crashing on the coast, the latest eruption was so powerful that it was heard as “strong thunder sounds” more than 800 kilometers away in Fiji.
A video released on Twitter by Jese Tuisinu, a television reporter for Fiji One, shows enormous waves washing ashore and people rushing to evacuate in their cars from the impending surf.
“Parts of Tonga are literally dark, and people are fleeing to safety as a result of the eruption,” he said.