July 1, 2022

The power of the eruption in Tonga was greater than hundreds of Hiroshima, according to Nasa

The Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha’apai volcano spewed a smoke mushroom reaching 40 km altitude.

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The volcanic eruption in the Tonga Islands on January 15 was several hundred times more powerful than the US atomic bomb dropped on the Japanese city of Hiroshima in August 1945, according to NASA scientists. The US space agency said the eruption had “annihilated” the volcanic island located about sixty kilometers north of Nuku’alofa, the capital of the archipelago.

According to Nasa’s Earth Observatory, the Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha’apai volcano spewed a mushroom cloud of smoke reaching 40 km (25 miles) a.s.l. during the eruption that was heard as far away as Alaska and triggered a tsunami . “We believe that the amount of energy released by the eruption was equivalent to an amount of TNT between 5 and 30 megatons”, said NASA scientist Jim Garvin in the publication published on Sunday, January 23.

The eruption blanketed the island kingdom of around 100,000 people in a layer of toxic ash, poisoning drinking water, destroying agricultural crops and completely wiping out at least two villages. It also claimed at least three lives in Tonga and led to the drowning of two bathers in Peru whose coasts were hit by exceptional waves due to the eruption.

In Tonga, the extent of the damage remains uncertain, with communications still down. Shock “far exceeds anything people here have known”, Nuku’alofa-based journalist Mary Lyn Fonua told AFP. “The shock wave from the eruption just shook our brains”, she said, adding that the layer of fine gray ash that covers everything still makes life difficult for the inhabitants.