Tonga Volcano’s Eruption Was as Intense as the United States’ Most Powerful Nuclear Test

Tonga Volcano’s Eruption Was as Intense as the United States’ Most Powerful Nuclear Test

You know what they say that you cannot possibly mess around with nature’s fury, and unfortunately, the eruption of the Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha’apai volcano in 2022 taught us that lesson the hard way. The eruption was so powerful that it was visible from space.

Scientists initiated new calculations on how powerful the eruption of the Tonga volcano was, and the results are horrifying. Being anywhere near that explosive eruption at that time was clearly a very dangerous game to play, and new research confirms it once again if it was still needed.

Tonga’s eruption released hundreds of times more energy than the atomic bomb detonated at Hiroshima in 1945

During the Second World War, the USA launched two nuclear bombs at Japan. The result was apocalyptic, as the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki were devastated, and about 100,000 people were killed.

But according to a new study, the tremendous amount of energy released at Hiroshima and Nagasaki paled in comparison to the power that the eruption of the Tonga volcano created. The eruption caused about 1,000 times more energy than the nuclear bomb that landed in Hiroshima, according to The Guardian.

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New research also reveals, according to the same source, that the volcano’s eruption was comparable to the most powerful nuclear test performed by the US. 

While writing in Science Advances, the researchers said:

The main factors that led to this, we suggest, are the quirk of the location, a worldwide pandemic, and increased evaluation drills and awareness efforts carried out in the years prior.

The eruption itself began much earlier, in December 2021. The location of the event was in the Hunga Tonga–Hunga Haʻapai, meaning a submarine volcano in the Tongan archipelago of the southern Pacific Ocean. The powerful climax was reached only four weeks later, on January 2022.


Even since he was a child, Cristian was staring curiously at the stars, wondering about the Universe and our place in it. Today he's seeing his dream come true by writing about the latest news in astronomy. Cristian is also glad to be covering health and other science topics, having significant experience in writing about such fields.

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