The Tonga volcano’s explosion was the equivalent of dropping 666 US atomic bombs on Hiroshima, causing a huge tsunami and shock wave.
“We estimate that the explosion produced 10 megatons, or 10 million tons of TNT,” said James Gavin, chief scientist at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center. America (NASA) said yesterday that he was referring to the January 15 eruption of the Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha’apai volcano in Tonga.
The blast was as powerful as the 666 atomic bombs dropped by the United States on Hiroshima, Japan at the end of World War II. The 15-kiloton bomb killed about 90,000 people in Hiroshima in an instant and devastated the city.
The eruption of the Hunga Tonga-Hunga Haapai volcano also formed a near-circular cloud 260 km in diameter and 20 km high, which was then deflected by the wind and blanketed Tonga’s islands with a layer of ash. explode”millennium“It also triggered a tsunami that swept through Tonga and neighboring island nations such as Fiji and Samoa, and spread to Japan, prompting the US to issue an alert.
The National Weather Service announced that the Alaska Volcano Observatory recorded an explosion from the eruption nearly 10,000 kilometers away. The Fife weather station in Scotland also said the eruption caused the pressure map to soar.
“This is probably the largest explosive eruption since Krakatoa erupted in 1883,” said Michael Poland, a geophysicist with the United States Geological Survey (USGS). The Krakatoa eruption killed thousands and covered the sky with so much ash.
The Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha’apai volcano has been monitored by a NASA team for years. It was completely destroyed after the explosion, along with several nearby islands. “It wasn’t ordinary smoke, it was a solid block of rock that was crushed to pieces by the explosion. It was amazing to see this happen,” said Dan Slebeck, a researcher at the Goddard Center.
However, the eruption was relatively small and lasted less than an hour compared to the many hours of eruption of Mount Pinatubo in the Philippines in 1991, USGS experts said.
According to Poland, it remains a mystery why such a relatively small eruption would trigger a tsunami and the explosion could be heard on the other side of the planet. “Even if the explosion happened on the water, it had a huge impact, far beyond our expectations. It was really confusing,” he commented.
The Tongan government spoke yesterday for the first time since the volcano erupted, confirming that two local residents and a British citizen were killed in the tsunami. Some small islands were particularly affected, with all their houses destroyed, while another island had only two houses left.
UN plans to launch a campaign assistance Tonga via supply flights but will not send staff to the island nation to prevent the spread of Covid-19.
Wu Ying (follow Reuters)