The force of the volcanic eruption in the archipelago of the Tonga islands, which occurred on January 15, far exceeded the power of the atomic bomb dropped on hiroshima, Japan, NASA scientists said, while survivors of the natural disaster reported suffering a shock that “rattled their brains.”
According to NASA’s Earth Observatory, the volcan South-South Pacific It released a mushroom of smoke that reached a height of 40 km after its eruption, which was heard as far as Alaska, more than 9,000 km away, and caused a tsunami.
NASA claimed that this eruption was several hundred times more powerful than the atomic bomb American launched on the Japanese city of Hiroshima, in August 1945.
“This is a preliminary estimate, but we believe that the amount of energy released by the eruption was equivalent to between 4 and 18 megatons of TNT,” said Garvin, chief scientist at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center.
“That figure is based on the amount that was mined, the strength of the rock, and the height at which the cloud from the eruption was thrown into the atmosphere at a range of velocities,” he added.
For comparison, scientists estimate that Mount St. Helens blew up in 1980 with 24 megatons and Krakatoa blew up in 1883 with 200 megatons of energy.
The agency said the eruption “annihilated” the volcanic island, located 65 km north of the Tongan capital Nuku’alofa.
toxic ash layer
The natural disaster covered the island kingdom, with a population of some 100,000 people, in a layer of toxic ash, contaminating drinking water, destroying agricultural crops and completely razing at least two villages.
It claimed at least three lives in Tonga and caused two bathers to drown in Peru, whose shores were lashed by waves of exceptional height caused by the eruption.
Peruvian authorities announced a 90-day “environmental emergency” in the coastal area, damaged by a 6,000-barrel oil spill a week ago, which continues to spread and contaminate the region to the despair of its inhabitants.
In Tonga, the extent of the damage is still uncertain, not least because communications are still down.
Tonga volcano disappeared after violent eruption
Satellite images show that the Tonga volcano whose violent eruption caused a tsunami in the Pacific Ocean has practically disappeared after the explosion recorded on Saturday, one of the most powerful in three decades.
Recent photographs from the United Nations Satellite Center (UNOSAT) reveal that following the eruption of the Hunga Tonga Hunga Ha’apa volcano, only two small portions of land remain above sea level.
Before the powerful explosion, these two surviving portions, part of the submarine volcano cone, were much larger and joined by a tongue of land up to 1.2 kilometers wide.
With information from DW and El Diario.
Photos: Tonga volcano that caused a tsunami disappears after violent eruption
· Eruption of the Tonga volcano, the loudest since the mythical Krakatoa in 1883
· VIDEO: Tsunami from Tonga reached the coast of Peru and caused the death of two women