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10 megatons of energy released from Tonga's volcano explosion

Seven days after the scandalous emission of the Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha'apai volcano in Tonga, eastern New Zealand, NASA scientists now have an indicator of the power caused

Veronica Morao
4 min read
10 megatons of energy released from Tonga's volcano explosion
Tonga, an unprecedented disaster

The eruption of the Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha'apai volcano was comparable to 500 times the energy supplied by the nuclear bomb dropped on Hiroshima in World War II. The phenomenon eliminated the kingdom of Tonga from the world and the devastation is immense.

The chief scientist of NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, James Garvin, reported that a figure of around 10 megatons of approximate TNT has been reached.

The number is really staggering. This value implies that the dangerous power was 500 times more remarkable than the nuclear bomb dropped on Hiroshima, Japan, towards the end of World War II. The explosion could be heard in places far away from the focal point of the eruption, similar to the case in Alaska.

This ejection was probably the loudest occasion on Earth in more than a century, said Michael Poland, a geophysicist with the US Survey.

Poland assured that this could be the most intense outbreak since Krakatoa (Indonesia) in 1883. That gigantic eruption of the 19th century killed millions of people. It released such a quantity of ash that much of the region was in darkness.

Because of this most recent occasion, Garvin says he accepts that for now, the worst is over.

Tonga broke off

In the event that the precedent of other volcanic eruptions in this scenario is repeated, a similar explosion would not be repeated for a long time, according to volcanologists.

In any case, these are extremes based on evidence, although the last opinion will have the planet.

Observation flights by the New Zealand government showed that the debris covered houses and different structures in Tonga.

The New Zealand Foreign Office revealed that a wave had submerged the west shore of the primary island of Tongatapu, causing extensive damage. On Mango Island all the houses have been destroyed by nature.

Access to drinking water is undoubtedly one of the main problems. The disengaged position of the nation makes its dependence on external sources of information extremely high, so there is a lot of vulnerability in terms of how its population is adapting to the circumstance.

No weather changes

This underwater well has been in the spotlight of the specialists since a major expulsion occurred ten years ago.

The islands that make up Tonga are in a subduction zone where one part of the world's outer shell sinks under another.

At the end of 2014, in the middle of 2015, the volcanic movement assembled a stage that rose out of the ocean, making another island, on the edge of this caldera.

Layers of steam and debris connected the island, known as Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha'apai, to two older islands, which were located on either side.

We currently know that this Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha'apai island was totally wiped out by Saturday's blast, and it was extremely huge that it even appears to have removed pieces of the more established islands. They were flying debris, but also strong broken stones.

Garvin maintained that the disposition of the island presumably further preferred its annihilation. Rising from the ocean, layers of fluid magma filled chambers below it.

Currently, it is presumed that this large explosion was caused by an unexpected change in underground pipes, which caused seawater to enter. The excess of a huge charge of cold water came into contact with the fluid stone, accelerating the outrageous explosion.

Volcanologists accept that the eruption has been little contrasted with other significant ones, and that it is reduced to a lonely and dangerous episode.

Unlike the ash and abundant smoke for many hours that caused the eruption of Mount Pinatubo in 1991, the Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha'apai emission lasted less than an hour. The emission is not expected to cause any transient changes in the Earth's environment, as other huge eruptions have done before.