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March 19, 2009

Undersea eruptions near Tonga

Scientists sailed out to have a closer look at the eruptions of an undersea volcano off the coast of Tonga in the South Pacific Ocean today. Tonga's head geologist, Kelepi Mafi, said there was no apparent danger to residents of Nuku'alofa and others living on the main island of Tongatapu. Officials also said it may be related to a quake with a magnitude of 4.4 which struck last March 13 around 35 kilometers from the capital at a depth of nearly 150 kilometres. (I know this is an off-day posting, but really, thought the images were worth it - 12 photos total)

An undersea volcano erupts off the coast of Tonga, sending plumes of steam, ash and smoke up to 100 meters into the air, on March 18, 2009, off the coast of Nuku'Alofa, Tonga. (Dana Stephenson/Getty Images)

An undersea volcano erupts off the coast of Tonga, tossing clouds of smoke, steam and ash thousands of meters into the sky above the South Pacific ocean, Tuesday, March 17, 2009. The eruption was at sea about 10 kilometers from the southwest coast of the main island of Tongatapu, an area where up to 36 undersea volcanoes are clustered. (AP Photo/Trevor Gregory) #

First in a series of undersea volcano eruption photos off the coast of Tonga, taken March 18th by photographer Dana Stephenson. (Dana Stephenson/Getty Images) #

Second in a series of undersea volcano eruption photos off the coast of Tonga, taken March 18th by photographer Dana Stephenson. (Dana Stephenson/Getty Images) #

Third in a series of undersea volcano eruption photos off the coast of Tonga, taken March 18th by photographer Dana Stephenson. (Dana Stephenson/Getty Images) #

Fourth in a series of undersea volcano eruption photos off the coast of Tonga, taken March 18th by photographer Dana Stephenson. (Dana Stephenson/Getty Images) #

Fifth in a series of undersea volcano eruption photos off the coast of Tonga, taken March 18th by photographer Dana Stephenson. (Dana Stephenson/Getty Images) #

Sixth in a series of undersea volcano eruption photos off the coast of Tonga, taken March 18th by photographer Dana Stephenson. (Dana Stephenson/Getty Images) #

An undersea volcano erupts about 10 kilometers off the Tongatapu coast of Tonga sending plumes of steam and smoke hundreds of meters into the air. (LOTHAR SLABON/AFP/Getty Images) #

An undersea volcano erupts off the coast of Tonga on March 18, 2009. (Dana Stephenson/Getty Images) #

An undersea volcano erupts off the coast of Tonga on March 18, 2009. (Dana Stephenson/Getty Images) #

The plume of an erupting undersea volcano is seen off the coast of Nuku'Alofa, Tonga on March 18, 2009. (Dana Stephenson/Getty Images) #
 
An interactive Google Map of Tonga and nearby seafloor. View Larger Map #

 
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