Scientists called the January eruption of the Tonga volcano the most powerful in modern history

(ORDO NEWS) — For the first time, researchers have been able to record a volcanic event of this magnitude with the help of modern equipment.

The eruption of the underwater volcano Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha’apai near the Pacific islands of Tonga in January 2022 was the most powerful ever recorded in modern history.

This is reported by with reference to the report of scientists from the National Institute for Water and Atmospheric Research of New Zealand.

A detailed study showed that the explosion released about 10 cubic kilometers of material into the environment.

This amount of debris could fill 2.6 million Olympic pools. The stones flew into the air for more than 40 kilometers.

“The eruption reached a record height, becoming the first breakthrough into the mesosphere [middle layer of the atmosphere] that we have ever observed,” said marine geologist Kevin McKay.

The scientist added that the plume from the eruption contained about two cubic kilometers of particles that hung in the air over the Pacific Ocean for months, causing spectacular sunsets.

The team also found that the Hunga-Tonga-Hunga-Haapai crater has become 700 meters deeper.

The volcanic eruption caused a 15-meter tsunami that destroyed houses and claimed the lives of at least three residents of the islands of Tonga.

Institute specialists noted that the explosion of Hunga-Tonga-Hunga-Haapai, apparently, surpassed the infamous eruption of the Krakatoa volcano in Indonesia, which killed tens of thousands of people in 1883.

Scientists believe that stronger volcanic eruptions occurred on Earth only in prehistoric times – about 8 thousand years ago and even earlier.


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