Biggest in 30 years: what caused the volcanic eruption on the island of Tonga

(ORDO NEWS) — The Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha’apai volcano erupted on January 15, 2022. It has become the most powerful in the last 30 years. And geologists are learning to predict such events in advance.

The volcanic eruption near the island of Tonga was short, but extremely powerful. But the volcanic eruption in the Canary Islands was not so powerful, but lasted for three whole months.

Geologists from all over the world study volcanoes and, according to the data obtained, they can say that “this volcano will erupt.” The problem is that while scientists can not name a clear time of such events.

The cause of the volcanic eruption in the Pacific Ocean

It may soon be possible to predict catastrophes. All thanks to the development of science and technology. For example, geologists use a variety of satellite data, seismic data, and gravity data from probes.

All this helps to better understand the nature and cause of eruptions. And this will allow them to predict and prepare for disasters in advance.

The scientists used the available data to develop an eruption model called WINTER-G that could suggest the cause of the explosion.

biggest in 30 years what caused the volcanic eruption on the island of Tonga 2

According to the research data used to develop the model, there is a “blowing basin” under the Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha’apai volcano, formed due to subduction of tectonic plates – this is the process when one lithospheric plate runs over another, forcing it to sink into the earth’s mantle . In this case, the edge of the Pacific tectonic plate is subducting under the Australian plate.

The cold lithospheric plate is melted by the hot mantle and this is probably the reason for the uneven distribution of temperatures under the volcano.

Also, thermal anomalies are affected by the so-called “Provinces with high and low seismic velocity”, which are located at a depth of about 2800 kilometers.

These rather mysterious structures also influence the formation of thermal anomalies, but how exactly is difficult to say. So far, we don’t even understand what these continent-sized structures are forming.

Scientists have a “thread” that gradually leads them to the possibility of more or less accurate prediction of volcanic eruptions.

It is quite possible that this will be real already in this decade. Geologists say that they are greatly helped by an interdisciplinary approach, when seismic data is combined into a single whole with information from satellites.


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