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Page last updated at 07:35 GMT, Thursday, 19 March 2009

Underwater volcano erupts off Tonga

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An underwater volcano has erupted close to the Tonga coast, in the South Pacific ocean.

Scientists sailed to inspect the the volcano, which has been shooting smoke, steam and ash into the air near the low-lying twin volcanic islands of Hunga Tonga and Hunga Ha'apai.

Local authorities said coastal villages close to the active volcano were not yet at risk, and that no warnings had been issued.

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