The volcanic explosion that took place in Tonga is currently thought to be one of the strongest ones that has ever been recorded with contemporary equipment. It sent off a tsunami that killed many people and caused “avalanche-like flows” of debris, which caused damage to the undersea communications lines that connected Tonga to the rest of the globe. In January of the previous year, the undersea volcano was responsible for sending boulders, gas, and ash hurtling over the bottom of the ocean at a speed of 122 kilometers per hour.
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Tonga’s Eruption: Important Facts to Know
The Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha’apai eruption released a force comparable to hundreds of atomic bombs, and the tsunami that followed the eruption was responsible for the deaths of at least three individuals and the destruction of dwellings on Tonga. The times and locations of cable breakage were utilized by a study team led by experts from Britain’s National Oceanography Centre (NOC) to assess the speed of the flows. Their findings are both really fascinating and terribly terrifying.
In addition, the data collected by the researchers was the first to chronicle what occurred when significant quantities of volcanic material that had been erupted were transported straight to the ocean. Because so few of the volcanoes that lie beneath the water are monitored, the danger that they pose to coastal people and vital infrastructure “remains poorly understood.” And this is Tonga’s case, too. The volcanic eruption plume, which reached heights of up to 57 kilometers, descended vertically into the sea and onto the steep slopes of the ocean floor. Known as pyroclastic flows, these hot, rapid currents of lava, volcanic ash, and gases are belched by eruptions that take place on land.
The researchers discovered that the flows were more rapid than those that were brought on by earthquakes, storms, or floods. Because of the high rates of speed and force exhibited by the currents, it was possible for them to travel a distance of at least 100 kilometers over the bottom while destroying the cables. Future studies on volcanoes will benefit from this data, which will help researchers better understand the nature of such cataclysmic phenomena.