May 16, 2022 2:34 pm

This is how the violent eruption of the Tonga volcano was seen from space




From an indeterminate point of a calm blue ocean, a gigantic plume of steam, gas and ash appears as if from nowhere. The images, captured by the American satellite GOES-West and the Japanese Himawari-8, show how the eruption of the submarine volcano on the island of Tonga, in the kingdom of the same name located in the South Pacific, was seen from space, which yesterday caused a tidal wave in its capital, Nuku’alofa, and a tsunami warning.

The explosion launched a plume up to 20 km into the air and reached a radius of 260 km, according to the National Office of Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
of the USA and the
Geological Survey of Tonga
. The ash reached Nuku’alofa, and the crash of the explosion was felt as far away as the islands of Fiji or Vanuatua, hundreds of kilometers away.

The eruption prompted evacuation orders off the coast of Tonga, as well as several South Pacific islands, where images on social media showed waves crashing against coastal homes. Telephone and internet lines were also interrupted. The Tonga volcano had shown activity in December, but this event is unparalleled: it is more than seven times more powerful.

The island was formed between December 2014 and January 2015, when an underwater volcano erupted explosively. When all the dust, rocks and ashes had settled, a new island appeared between two older ones, with a summit that reached 120 meters in height. It was the first of its kind to form in 53 years, as well as the first in the modern satellite era. Thus, scientists have been able to study their birth and evolution in detail from space. Since its formation, the island has erupted intermittently.

Image of the volcano’s eruption taken by the NOAA GOES-West satellite

Apparently, the shock wave caused by Saturday’s eruption was felt throughout the world, affecting atmospheric pressure, a change that was even perceived from barometers in Spain.

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