A massive cloud of ash spewed into the sky by a volcanic eruption in Tonga has been captured in a series of photos.
The series showing the ongoing eruption about 63km north of Nuku'alofa was released by the Tongan Government this afternoon.
Dense ash is shown erupting to a height of about 400m, accompanied by some large rocks. Steam from the eruption has risen more than 1km high, Government advisories say.
The eruption has created a new 1km-wide, 2km-long and 100m-high island between the existing islands of Hunga Tonga and Hunga Ha'apai.
A crew of New Zealand scientists are planning to head out on a naval vessel to observe the eruption tomorrow.
GNS volcanologist Nico Fournier says the Kiwis are there to help their Tongan colleagues analyse the volcanic activity.
"We'll remain at a very safe distance, so probably around five kilometers away, maybe 10 kilometers away depending on the activity," he says.
"We'll make a judgment call, but we won't get too close."
See the photos below: