Noise from underwater volcanic eruption across the Pacific heard in the Yukon

Residents described waking to their walls shaking in the early morning hours

Some Yukon residents woke up to loud sonic booms and shaking homes after an underwater volcano erupted across the Pacific Ocean.

The U.S. National Weather Service posted on Facebook that loud booming sounds heard in Alaska are the result of shock waves from an underwater volcanic eruption in Tonga that have finally reached North America.

Several residents in Haines Junction, Whitehorse and other parts of the territory posted about the sound in various Facebook groups.

Georgina Widney, who lives in the Ibex Valley about 50 km outside of Whitehorse toward Haines Junction, said she awoke sometime between 5 and 6:30 a.m. to her house shaking.

"We heard a little bit of rumbling and we thought someone was on our deck or an animal," she said.

Widney said she and her husband went outside, as did many of their neighbours, where it sounded as though the noise was coming from the sky.

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"It got really loud," she said.

She compared the noise to that of a large truck passing by and said the sound lasted for about an hour.

(NOAA/NESDIS) Satellite view of Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha'apai underwater volcano eruption

NOAA's GOES-17 satellite captured the eruption of the Pacific Ocean's Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha'apai underwater volcano on January 15, 2022. (NOAA/NESDIS)

The sound could also be heard in Whitehorse where Elise Maltin said it woke her at about 6:45 a.m.

"I was asleep and then it dawned on me that I was hearing some noise," she said. "I couldn't figure out what it was."

Maltin said it sounded like a thumping noise, comparable to a jet taking off. She said she experienced an earthquake five years ago, which sounded similar.

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As a result of the volcanic eruption, the U.S. National Weather service is warning of a possible tsunami in Alaska. The Canadian government issued an tsunami advisory for the B.C. coast.

Maltin said her thoughts are with the people affected in Tonga and that she immediately reached out to a friend in Alaska when she heard the news.

But she added the experience was interesting way to start off her Saturday.

"There are some really sad parts," Maltin said. "But as a natural occurrence it was pretty interesting to hear something like that."

This story, written by Luke Carroll, was originally published by CBC News on January 15, 2022.