Tonga’s volcano erupted hundreds of times more powerful than an atomic bomb

Tonga's volcano erupted hundreds of times more powerful than an atomic bomb 0

(Dan Tri) – NASA scientists estimate that the volcanic eruption in Tonga had several hundred times more destructive power than the US atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima, Japan.

Volcanic eruption in Tonga seen from satellite (Photo: AFP).

`We believe that the energy released from the volcanic eruption is equivalent to 5-30 megatons of TNT,` NASA scientist Jim Garvin said in a press release.

NASA’s Earth Observatory said the Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha’apai volcano created a plume of ash up to 40 kilometers high in the January 15 eruption and caused giant tsunamis.

NASA estimates that the volcanic eruption in Tonga was hundreds of times more destructive than the US atomic bomb dropped on the Japanese city of Hiroshima in August 1945.

NASA said the eruption `obliterated` the volcanic island about 65 kilometers north of Tonga’s capital Nuku’alofa.

Ash from the volcano has covered the island nation of about 100,000 people, polluting water sources and destroying crops.

Shane Cronin, a professor of Earth sciences at New Zealand’s University of Auckland, said that the disaster in Tonga was one of the `once in a thousand years` explosions with this volcano.

Tsunami waves up to 15 meters high devastated Togatapu, Tonga’s main island, as well as the islands of ‘Eua and Ha’apai in the volcanic eruption.

The most intense volcanic eruption of the 21st century, like an `atomic bomb` in Tonga

Peruvian authorities also declared an environmental disaster after waves hit an oil tanker near Lima, creating a large slick along the coast.

In Tonga, the scale of destruction following the eruption is still not fully known because communication lines to remote islands are disrupted.

Correspondent Mary Lyn Fonua in Nuku’alofa said local people are still facing the consequences of the disaster.

`It’s beyond what anyone here has ever experienced. The shockwave from the volcanic eruption messed up our brains, we’re just now starting to get back to normal,` Fonua said.

Fonua also said a fine gray layer of dirt covers everything in Tonga, raising concerns about long-term health problems.

`Ash is everywhere. It stings your eyes, gives you mouth ulcers, everyone’s nails are black. We need a heavy rain to wash away all the ash,` Fonua added.

The defense forces of Japan, New Zealand and Australia have begun providing emergency relief to Tonga, especially clean water, while ensuring strict Covid-19 anti-epidemic procedures.

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