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FACTBOX-Tonga’s volcanic eruption
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FACTBOX-Tonga’s volcanic eruption

Here are five facts about Tonga and the impact of the underwater volcanic eruption on the South Pacific island group.

SIZE, LOCATION, CLIMATE Tonga (Polynesian archipelago) is a Polynesian archipelago that has 176 islands, 36 of which are inhabited. It is located southeast from Fiji and just west the international dateline. It covered 747 square kilometers (288 square miles) prior to the eruption. It has a tropical climate, which is modified by trade wind.

EXTENT OF ERUPTION Friday’s eruption of the Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha’apai volcano was heard 2,300 km (1,430 miles) away in New Zealand and sent tsunami waves across the Pacific Ocean. The waves reached up to 15m (50ft) high when they struck the archipelago’s Haapia islands group.

RECORD OF VOLCANIC ACTIVITY. The CIA’s World Factbook describes the volcanic activity in the archipelago at “moderate”.

Fonualei, an island uninhabited, has been experiencing activity in recent decades. Niuafo’ou is the northernmost island that has had its last eruption in 1985 and has had to be evacuated. According to the handbook Late and Tofua are two other historically active volcanoes. Some volcanologists are likening the latest eruption to the 1991 Pinatubo eruption in the Philippines, the second-largest volcanic explosion of the 20th century, which killed around 800 people.

HISTORY Tonga became a Polynesian kingdom, a constitutional monarchy in 1845 and a British protectorate of 1900. It joined the Commonwealth in 1970 after it resigned from the protectorate.

ECONOMY Tonga, a major Pacific island exporter of fish, is a high-income, upper-middle-income economy that relies heavily on remittances and tourism from its large diaspora. There are also growing Chinese infrastructure investments, according to CIA World Factbook.

(Compiled by John Stonestreet, Mark Heinrich, edited by Angus MacSwan

(This story was not edited by Devdiscourse staff. It is generated automatically from a syndicated feed.

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