NASA says Tonga eruption equals hundreds of Hiroshimas

NASA says Tonga eruption equals hundreds of Hiroshimas


According to NASA, Tonga’s volcanic eruption unleashed explosive forces comparable to up to 30 million tons of TNT — a hundred times more than the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima.

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According to NASA, Tonga’s volcanic eruption unleashed explosive forces comparable to up to 30 million tons of TNT — a hundred times more than the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima.

When Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha’ai, an underwater volcano in the South Pacific, erupted on January 15, it shot debris up to 40 km into the sky.

It produced a 7.4 magnitude earthquake that unleashed tidal waves that pounded the island, blanketing it in ash and cutting it off from outside help.

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It covered the island kingdom of about 100,000 people with a layer of toxic ash, poisoned drinking water, destroyed crops and completely wiped out at least two villages.

It also emitted between 5 and 30 megatons (5 million to 30 million tons) of TNT equivalent, according to NASA Earth Observatory.

By comparison, the US atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima, January, August 1945, was estimated to contain about 15 kilotons (15,000 tons) of TNT.

Radar readings taken before and after last month’s eruption show only small parts of two Tongan islands — Hunga Tonga and Hunga Ha’ai — remain above the volcano.

According to scientists, Mount St. Helens exploded in 1980 with 24 megatons of energy, while Krakatau exploded in 1883 with 200 megatons of energy.

The tremendous changes at Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha’ai, the top section of a massive underwater volcano, are also visible on NASA Earth Observatory’s digital elevation ms.

(With contributions from agencies)

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