The forces in the volcanic eruption in Tonga were equivalent to hundreds of Hirsoshima bombs, says a researcher at the US space agency Nasa.
The underwater volcano Hunga caused rubble to fly as high as 40 km during the eruption on January 15, according to NASA’s observatory. The eruption led to major tsunami waves.
“We believe that the amount of energy released by the eruption was equivalent to somewhere between 5 and 30 megatons (5-30 million tons) of TNT,” said Nasa researcher Jim Garvin in a press release.
TNT is a type of explosive.
According to Nasa, the eruption was hundreds of times more powerful than the US atomic bomb dropped on the Japanese city of Hiroshima in August 1945. According to Nasa, the uninhabited volcanic island of Hunga, just over 60 km north of Tonga’s capital Nukualofa, was “wiped out”.
The island was covered with a layer of toxic ash, drinking water was poisoned and crops were destroyed.
Much is still unclear as communications to the island kingdom have been broken.
At least two villages have been completely wiped out and it is difficult to know how big the damage is or how many have died. So far, three people have been confirmed dead in Tonga due to the outbreak. Two people in Peru have been reported drowned since waves caused by the eruption reached all the way there.
An oil tanker near Lima was also hit by the waves and damaged, which has led to a huge oil leak along the coast.
Journalist Mary Lyn Fonua in Nukualofa says residents are still trying to come to terms with the scale of the disaster.
– It is beyond what anyone here has ever experienced, she says.
She says that the layer of fine-grained dirt that covers everything has led to concerns about long-term health consequences.
– It ends up everywhere. It irritates the eyes, you get sores in the mouth pores, everyone has black nails – we look like a dirty bunch.
Australia, Japan and New Zealand have started supplying supplies to Tonga, especially water. At the same time, the relief efforts follow strict corona restrictions so that Tonga can maintain its status as virus-free.
According to UN estimates, about 84,000 people, or more than 80 percent of Tonga’s population, have been affected by the volcanic eruption and tsunami.
Volcanic eruption in Tonga
On January 15, the underwater volcano Hunga had a major eruption. Hunga is located near the island nation of Tonga and the volcano triggered tsunamis that reached all the way to New Zealand and caused floods in California, USA.
Shock waves from the volcano reached halfway around the globe and the atmosphere shook over 700 km away.
The devastation on the Tongan islands is massive after the eruption and help from other countries has been difficult to reach as a result of the ash.
Source: Nyteknik – Senaste nytt by www.nyteknik.se.
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