‘Rain of stones’ and ‘deafening sound’ coming from Hungas volcanic activities reported in Tongatapu

The ongoing activities at the two Hungas’ volcano, which sent ash, steam, and gas 20 kilometers into the air have a new twist.

Geologists on the site. Oversighting Hunga Ha’apai in the forefront and Hunga Tonga ‘o the left. The plumes up to 20km above sea level. Photo/ Tonga Geological Services

In the latest development, locals in Tongatapu have reported “deafening” sound of an eruption this afternoon. They also reported stones pouring down on Tongatapu.

No injuries or deaths have been reported.

Our correspondent in Tongat Patimiosi Ngūngūtau said the deafening sound was “weird”.

“It was a rain of small black stones and black ashes”, he said.

Ngūngūtau said ash not only covered vehicle screens but their impact sounded like they could break the screens.

Tonga Geological Services said at 1.45pm this afternoon satellite images captured this morning between showed volcanic eruption continues, with ash emitted and detected at 7.20am this morning.

“This ash plume was due to an eruption that lasted 10 – 15 minutes and was drifting downwind to the east from Hunga. No further eruption has been detected since then”, it said.

“Nearshore water turbulence caused by the eruption is expected to have ceased for all shores of Ha’apai and Tongatapu islands. It is advised that the public observe currents before entering the water.

“Owners of rainwater harvesting systems in all Tonga are advised to check for ashfall on your roofs for ash before reconnecting your guttering systems.

“Please clean if ashfall is evident. For locations of residents where the pungent smell of sulphur or ammonia is experienced please use breathing masks if helpful”.

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