Tsunami threat recedes from huge Pacific volcanic eruption
WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) — The tsunami threat around the Pacific from a huge undersea volcanic eruption began to recede Sunday, while the extent of damage to Tonga remained unclear.
Satellite images showed the spectacular eruption that took place Saturday evening, with a plume of ash, steam and gas rising like a mushroom above the blue Pacific waters. A sonic boom could be heard as far away as Alaska.
In Tonga it sent tsunami waves crashing across the shore and people rushing to higher ground.
The eruption cut the internet to Tonga, leaving friends and family members around the world anxiously trying to get in touch to figure out if there were any injuries and the extent of the damage. Even government websites and other official sources remained without updates on Sunday afternoon.
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said there had not yet been any official reports of injuries or deaths in Tonga, but cautioned that authorities hadn't yet made contact with some coastal areas and smaller islands.
“Communication with Tonga remains very limited. And I know that is causing a huge amount of anxiety for the Tongan community here,” Ardern said.
She said there had been significant damage to boats and shops along the Tongan coastline. The capital, Nuku'alofa, was covered in a thick film of volcanic dust, Ardern said, contaminating water supplies and making fresh water a vital need.
Aid agencies said thick ash and smoke had prompted authorities to ask people to wear masks and drink bottled water.
Ardern said New Zealand was unable to send a military surveillance flight over Tonga on Sunday because the ash cloud was 63,000 feet (19,000 meters) high but they hoped to send the flight on Monday, followed by supply planes and navy ships.
One complicating factor to any international aid effort is that Tonga has so far managed to avoid any outbreaks of COVID-19. Ardern said New Zealand's military staff were all fully vaccinated and willing to follow any protocols established by Tonga.
Dave Snider, the tsunami warning coordinator for the National Tsunami Warning Center in Palmer, Alaska, said it was very unusual for a volcanic eruption to affect an entire ocean basin, and the spectacle was both “humbling and scary.”
The tsunami waves caused damage to boats as far away as New Zealand and Santa Cruz, California, but did not appear to cause any widespread damage. Snider said he anticipated the tsunami situation in the U.S. and elsewhere to continue improving.
Tsunami advisories were earlier issued for Japan, Hawaii, Alaska and the U.S. Pacific coast. The U.S. Geological Survey estimated the eruption caused the equivalent of a magnitude 5.8 earthquake. Scientists said tsunamis generated by volcanoes rather than earthquakes are relatively rare.
The Tonga Meteorological Services said a tsunami warning was declared for all of the archipelago, and data from the Pacific tsunami center said waves of 80 centimeters (2.7 feet) were detected.
Rachel Afeaki-Taumoepeau, who chairs the New Zealand Tonga Business Council, said she hoped the relatively low level of the tsunami waves would have allowed most people to get to safety, although she worried about those living on islands closest to the volcano. She said she hadn’t yet been able to contact her friends and family in Tonga.
“We are praying that the damage is just to infrastructure and people were able to get to higher land,” she said.
U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken wrote on Twitter he is “deeply concerned for the people of Tonga as they recover from the aftermath of a volcanic eruption and tsunami. The United States stands prepared to provide support to our Pacific neighbors.”
Tonga gets its internet via an undersea cable from Suva, Fiji. All internet connectivity with Tonga was lost at about 6:40 p.m. local time, said Doug Madory, director of internet analysis for the network intelligence firm Kentik.
On Tonga, which is home to about 105,000 people, video posted to social media showed large waves washing ashore in coastal areas and swirling around homes, a church and other buildings. A Twitter user identified as Dr. Faka’iloatonga Taumoefolau posted video showing waves crashing ashore.
“Can literally hear the volcano eruption, sounds pretty violent,” he wrote, adding in a later post: “Raining ash and tiny pebbles, darkness blanketing the sky.”
The explosion of the Hunga Tonga Hunga Ha’apai volcano was the latest in a series of dramatic eruptions.
Earth imaging company Planet Labs PBC had watched the island in recent days after a new volcanic vent there began erupting in late December.
Satellite images captured by the company show how drastically the volcano had shaped the area, creating a growing island off Tonga.
“The surface area of the island appears to have expanded by nearly 45% due to ashfall,” Planet Labs said days before the latest activity.
Following Saturday’s eruption, residents in Hawaii, Alaska and along the U.S. Pacific coast were advised to move away from the coastline to higher ground and to pay attention to instructions from their local emergency management officials, said Snider.
“We don’t issue an advisory for this length of coastline as we’ve done — I’m not sure when the last time was — but it really isn’t an everyday experience,” Snider said.
Savannah Peterson watched in shock as the water rose several feet in a matter of minutes in front of her oceanfront house in Pacifica, California, just south of San Francisco.
“It came up so fast, and a few minutes after that it was down again. It was nuts to see that happen so quickly,” she said. “I’ve never had water come all the way up to my front door, and today it did.”
Police rescued a surfer whose surfboard broke in powerful waves off San Francisco.
Farther south in Santa Cruz, California, officials were taking stock of damage after a surge damaged boats and inundated low-lying streets and parking lots, sending cars afloat.
In Southern California, surging waters sunk at least one boat in Ventura Harbor northwest of Los Angeles.
New Zealand’s private forecaster, Weather Watch, tweeted that people as far away as Southland, the country’s southernmost region, reported hearing sonic booms from the eruption. Others reported that many boats were damaged by a tsunami that hit a marina in Whangarei, in the Northland region.
Earlier, the Matangi Tonga news site reported that scientists observed massive explosions, thunder and lightning near the volcano after it started erupting early Friday. Satellite images showed a 5-kilometer (3-mile) -wide plume rising into the air to about 20 kilometers (12 miles).
The Hunga Tonga Hunga Ha’apai volcano is located about 64 kilometers (40 miles) north of Nuku’alofa. In late 2014 and early 2015, a series of eruptions in the area created a small new island and disrupted international air travel to the Pacific archipelago for several days.
There is not a significant difference between volcanoes underwater and on land, and underwater volcanoes become bigger as they erupt, at some point usually breaching the surface, said Hans Schwaiger, a research geophysicist with the Alaska Volcano Observatory.
With underwater volcanoes, however, the water can add to the explosivity of the eruption as it hits the lava, Schwaiger added.
Before an explosion, there is generally an increase in small local earthquakes at the volcano, but depending on how far it is from land, that may not be felt by residents along the shoreline, Schwaiger said.
In 2019, Tonga lost internet access for nearly two weeks when a fiber-optic cable was severed. The director of the local cable company said at the time that a large ship may have cut the cable by dragging an anchor. Until limited satellite access was restored people couldn’t even make international calls.
Southern Cross Cable Network’s Veverka said limited satellite connections exist between Tonga and other parts of the world but he did not know if they might be affected by power outages.
Associated Press writers Jennifer McDermott in Providence, Rhode Island, Martha Mendoza in Santa Cruz, California, Frank Bajak in Boston, Mari Yamaguchi in Tokyo, Fili Sagapolutele in Pago Pago, American Samoa, Jon Gambrell in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, and Christopher Weber in Los Angeles contributed to this report.
Are Survival Tabs A Good Food Choice For Long Periods Of Time?
If you or your loved ones were in a situation calling for survival, you must be prepared with foods to get through the crisis. There are plenty of food options to stock up on including freeze-dried foods and canned goods.
About Survival Foods
Many foods used for survival situations have an enormous advantage due to their shelf-life as found in canned goods. The disadvantage of freeze-dried foods, you need water to serve them.
If you need water, there are several issues. One, if it's a natural disaster, water might be polluted and if you are on the move, how are you going to carry all these foods around with you? Survival tabs are not heavy and do not require using water.
That said, there are concerns that must be covered before deciding if another food is a good replacement for freeze-dried foods.
So let's discuss how good these survival tabs are as a replacement?
Created By The Space Program
Survival Tabs were created over 10 years ago by the space program Due to zero gravity, American scientists realized that astronauts might have difficulties digesting food the right way which could lead to malnutrition. Scientists understood that maintaining astronauts' physical health and functions were critical. These functions included dexterity, stamina, mental alertness, and coordination. Understanding these conditions, scientists started researching products for daily nutrition to carry out missions and can be stored on an aircraft with limited space.
These tablets are small, lightweight, and can be stored and carried around easily. On top of that, they have a shelf life of 25 years unless the packaging has been damaged. It has been recommended that the packages be rotated every three years to ensure nutritional value. Once the package is opened, the food will remain good for 90 days.
When In Use
You can take one tablet every hour for up to 12 hours a day. You can eat more tablets without concerns about your health but more than likely, you will have to ration the food as you are trying to survive.
If the conditions are terrible, you must take a minimum of 6 tablets a day which comes out to one tablet every 2 hours. You should only have one tablet at a time and take a sip of water after swallowing the pill.
Do not rely on these tablets as your total source of food and energy. The tablets will only keep you from starvation on a temporary basis and help you survive for a longer period of time. Chances are, you will have to hunt or forage more food to keep going.
The Tabs Purpose
These tablets are meant to keep you alive for months. One person can survive 4 to 5 months eating the Survival Tabs alone. One serving of 12 tablets will give you 240 calories, with daily nourishment when your normal caloric intake cannot be met. If you are lost, trapped in a helpless situation, and cannot get to food, these tablets will help you out.
These tablets can be stored in extremely cold conditions without disturbing the shelf life. On the other hand, they cannot handle super hot conditions. Try to keep them out of direct sunlight because the rays will melt the tablets.
The pouches come in different sizes from 2-days, 4-days, 8-days, and 10-days and each pouch has 24 tablets.
Nutrition and Ingredients
Breaking up the ingredients can be difficult as the tablets are an all-in-one nutritional item. After reading the label, all we could gather, the tablets have non-fat dry milk solids, which means they are lactose intolerant or if you have allergies to dairy products then this is not for you.
According to the company, 60% of the tablet's content is carbohydrates, 25% fats, 5% vitamins, and 10% protein. Each tablet has only 20 calories so eating 12 each day will give you 240 calories. The body burns between 300 and 500 calories when you are sleeping. So, if you don't move and only eat these tablets, you could survive for a week but you will be extremely weak.
What I could gather, eating these tablets will only save you from starvation while looking for other sources of food. You should not bank on these if you are expecting to get through a survival situation by relying on these tablets. You will have to hunt or have freeze-dried foods on hand along with these tablets.
The tablets come in 4 flavors, butterscotch, strawberry, vanilla, and chocolate. I truly was expecting an off-taste but was very surprised the tablets have a pleasant taste and are somewhat definitive in flavor.
The Pros & Cons
- Excellent Shelf Life
- Easy to carry
- Can be stored in cooler conditions
- Have a pleasant taste
- Low on nutritional value
- Contains lactose
- Will melt in hot conditions
What People Think
Most people realize, under survival conditions, something is certainly better than nothing. Most consumers bought these tablets as add-ons for their choice of food for an emergency. While some people could not identify what the tablets taste like but non thought the taste was unpleasant.
Most people were glad the tablets are inexpensive. Because the tablets pack enough essential nutrients, they are a great deal less expensive than freeze-dried foods.
About The Survival Tabs
Are The Survival Tabs individually wrapped?
No, they are not
Do The Survival Tabs Contain Lactose?
Are The Tablets Hard?
They have the consistency of rock candy. You have to soften and dissolve them in your mouth before you can break them up.
It's actually difficult to say how one would feel about eating survival tabs for any length of time. Keep in mind, hunting will burn many calories while the pills will be better than starving. These tablets will help keep you going so you can move on to a better place to possibly be rescued or be able to hunt and gather food.
Since most freeze-dried foods have a shelf life of 25 years, you do not have to make any compromises.
You can add these survival tabs to your pantry for an emergency situation and carry them when you are on the move. We strongly recommend you stock up on other varieties of foods like canned goods to make it through a serious situation.