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NUKU'ALOFA, Tonga—An undersea volcano erupted off the coast of Tonga shooting clouds of smoke, steam and ash thousands of feet (meters) into the sky above the South Pacific ocean on March 18, 2009.

Spectacular columns spewed out of the sea about 6 miles (10 kilometers) from the southwest coast off the main island of Tongatapu -- an area where up to 36 undersea volcanoes are clustered.

Tonga, a 170-island archipelago about halfway between Australia and Tahiti, is part of the Pacific "ring of fire" -- an arc of earthquake and volcanic zones stretching from Chile in South America through Alaska and down through Vanuatu to Tonga.

Photos taken by Dana Stephenson on March the 18th (Getty images).

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Unknown on Mar 20, 2009, 6:58:00 PM  

WOW....those are totally amazing photos.
I can imagine the sound those eruptions must make.
That would definitely be something to experience.
Thank you for the photos.

Have a great day!

anney on Mar 21, 2009, 12:04:00 AM  

Woahhh! Look at the ash and cloud of smoke formation! Gorgeous shots! Thanks for sharing this!

Sera Melinda on Mar 21, 2009, 1:16:00 AM  

@Dorothy and Anney,
Amazing photos, huh?
Couldn't believe my own eyes
...imagined if i were there......

Glad you guys like them.

Anonymous on Mar 21, 2009, 5:57:00 PM  

Those are amazing photos!

Sera Melinda on Mar 21, 2009, 9:05:00 PM  

Hi Andy,
glad u enjoyed it.
It looks like a giant monster, doesn't it?