Skip to main content
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Understanding the Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha'apai Event (AD)

Right-click and save to download

Detailed Description

Between January 14-15, 2022, volcanic eruptions destroyed much of Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha'apai, an uninhabited island in the Tonga archipelago in the southern Pacific Ocean. A plume of ash rising 36 miles into the atmosphere blanketed the neighboring Tongan islands. The eruption also displaced an enormous volume of water, sending waves estimated up to 49 feet tall toward nearby inhabited islands, causing major infrastructural damage and loss of life. The tsunami’s impact was powerful and deadly.

The Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha'apai eruption and tsunami were immediate hazards to the island nation of Tonga, but their effects were felt on a much larger scale, unleashing sound and pressure waves that were detected around the world, generating multiple distinct tsunamis.

View the non-audio-described version.




Video is public domain. Music: "A Mountain Beneath" by Lama House; "Future Is Now" by FLYIN; and "How Birds Breathe" Cora Zea, used with permission by Epidemic Sound.