The eruption of the Hunga-Tonga-Hunga-Ha’apai volcano, in the Tonga archipelago, which was felt throughout the Pacific, had an impact that was more than 500 times more powerful than the nuclear bomb dropped on the city of Hiroshima ( Japan) at the end of World War II. This is reported by the American public radio station NPR, citing NASA researchers.
Specifically, James Garvin, chief scientist at the agency’s Goddard Space Flight Center, specified in an interview with the media that the detonation of the volcano “about 10 megatones of TNT equivalent [trinitrotolueno]”.
Meanwhile, a total of 53 detectors of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO) mounted around the Earth noted the low-frequency thump produced by the explosion as it passed through the atmosphere. According to CTBTO geophysicist Ronan Le Bras, it was the most resonant localized event in more than 20 years. “All the stations picked it up. It’s the biggest what we’ve seen,” Held The arm.
For his part, Garvin pointed out that the worst has already happened. “If the precedent for volcanic eruptions in this type of scenario is anything to go by, then we won’t have another one of these explosions for a while,” he said.
In the opinion of Michael Poland, a geophysicist at the US Geological Survey, it could be the explosion “loudest since Krakatoa in 1883 [el estallido del volcán indonesio que se saldó con decenas de miles de víctimas]”.
In addition, the specialist indicated that the Hunga-Tonga-Hunga-Ha’apai eruption lasted less than an hour, so it is not expected to cause short-term changes in the planet’s climate.
What remains a puzzle, says Poland, is how the eruption led to such a large explosion and tsunami. “It had an outsized impact, way beyond what you’d expect if this had been entirely on water. That’s what it is. a scratch on the head“, I note.
Meanwhile, scientists have not yet managed to visit the scene of the events to study it more deeply. However, they are already immersed in the analysis of satellite images, as is planned launch drone missions.