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Tonga volcano eruption was one of the strongest ever recorded

The recent violent volcanic eruption in Tonga is one of the strongest ever recorded, according to a new study, and future eruptions could be...



The recent violent volcanic eruption in Tonga is one of the strongest ever recorded, according to a new study, and future eruptions could be possible in the area.

Its explosive yield has been put at anything from 5 million to 30 million tons of TNT equivalent by NASA scientists who've studied preliminary data from the January 15 blast. 

The eruption of Mount St Helens in Washington state in 1980 produced the same yield as around 24 million tons of exploding TNT.  

Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha'apai, an underwater volcano in the South Pacific, spewed debris as high as 25 miles into the atmosphere when it erupted almost a fortnight ago. 

This 7.4 magnitude earthquake sent tsunami waves crashing into shorelines, causing destruction, and resulted in the death of three people in the region. 



A new study by Texas A&M University found that the eruption ranks among the strongest in at least 30 years in terms of explosive yield, similar to the Mount St Helens eruption from 1980, which had an energy blast equivalent to 24 million tons of TNT. 

Both St Helens and Tonga are a fraction of the power of the 200 megaton Krakatoa explosion, that went off near Indonesia in 1883, killing more than 36,000 people. 

Professor Andreas Kronenberg, study author, said the eruption on Tonga likely ranks among the strongest in at least 30 years. 

The eruption could be heard nearly 1,500 miles away in New Zealand, and caused a massive ash cloud to form over the islands, which was visible from space.  


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