An undersea volcanic eruption occurred 40 miles off the coast of the South Pacific country of Tonga on Saturday.
Satellite imagery shows the eruption unleashed a massive shockwave as a plume of ash was flung 12.4 miles into the atmosphere.
US Storm Watch said the eruption was the "most violent" eruption ever captured on satellite footage.
Tonga's Hunga Tonga volcano just had one of the most violent volcano eruptions ever captured on satellite. pic.twitter.com/M2D2j52gNn— US StormWatch (@US_Stormwatch) January 15, 2022
Some have compared the eruption to the "Hiroshima" nuclear bomb explosion.
Shortly after the eruption, a tsunami warning was posted for Tonga. An advisory was issued for New Zealand's North Island. CNN affiliate Radio New Zealand (RNZ) said a tsunami hit Tonga's capital, Nuku'alofa, flooding coastal roads and properties.
Tsunami videos out of Tonga 🇹🇴 this afternoon following the Volcano Eruption. pic.twitter.com/JTIcEdbpGe— Jese Tuisinu (@JTuisinu) January 15, 2022
RNZ said Tonga's King Tupou VI was evacuated from the Royal Palace, and residents were told to flee to higher ground.
It is literally dark in parts of Tonga and people are rushing to safety following the eruption. 🇹🇴 pic.twitter.com/7NoP0y9GCo— Jese Tuisinu (@JTuisinu) January 15, 2022
One Tongan resident told Yahoo News the eruption was "catastrophic," and ash and rock rained down on the capital.
This family were in church. They’d just finish having choir practice and the tsunami hit 😩❤️🇹🇴 pic.twitter.com/DLLFRJ9BAc— KNOWKNEE (@JohnnyTeisi) January 15, 2022
Twitter user Dr. Faka'iloatonga Taumoefolau posted a video showing waves coming ashore.
"Can literally hear the volcano eruption, sounds pretty violent," he wrote. In another post, he said: "Raining ash and tiny...