The volcanic eruption destroys the islands and sends pressure waves to Germany
More lightning than ever, tsunamis off the coast of the Pacific: The massive eruption on the island of Tonga in the South Pacific has changed the map, the islands have disappeared or shrunk. The effects on Tonga are yet to be assessed.
D.He said the eruption of the volcano on the islands of Tonga in the South Pacific on Saturday could be measured worldwide. The pressure wave caused by the eruption of the Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha’apai volcano ran through the entire atmosphere, and meteorological stations in Germany also recorded shocks in their records. The sound of the explosion was still heard in Alaska, about 10,000 kilometers away. However, the eruption in the South China Sea had severe consequences.
Media reports of “significant damage” to the island’s beaches. The islands resembled a lunar landscape covered with black volcanic ash. There were no casualties in Tonga until Sunday evening, German time. However, at first there was no news from the islands of Tonga – where the internet and electricity failed. The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) says tens of thousands of residents have been affected.
At the site, the eruption resembled a catastrophe: a large gray cloud darkened the sky for hours over Tonga, with the sound of an eruption. Hundreds of thousands of lightnings flew through the black eruption cloud, reaching an altitude of 15 kilometers: Vysala’s GLD360 network, a global sensor network, reported that not so many lightning bolts were recorded during a volcanic eruption. High voltage sparks continued to strike the oceans and islands.
“You can compare the event to the 1883 Krakatoa eruption,” says Andreas Schaefer, a geophysicist at the Center for Disaster Management and Risk Reduction Technology (CEDIM). The 1883 eruption of Indonesia’s sea volcano was one of the most violent in history, and was heard thousands of miles away and triggered a tsunami that killed thousands.
Neighboring islands have also been severely affected
In contrast to Krakatoa, meteorologists have already announced that the Tonga eruption is unlikely to significantly cool the climate. But like Krakatoa in 1883, the Hanga Tonga-Hunga Ha’boy eruption caused the submarine to collapse and trigger tsunamis. Schaefer says the waves have destroyed at least two islands: the uninhabited islands of Nuku and Tau, about 65 kilometers from Hanga Tonga-Hunga Hapai, are no longer visible in satellite images taken after the tsunami.
Schaefer says the waves have completely destroyed the islands. Only the rocks below are more approximate. Some uninhabited neighboring islands were also severely affected, losing much of their land area to the sea.
“Most of the other islands, especially the inhabited islands, are significantly larger and their rocky outcrops extend a few meters out of the water, so the changes here are less dramatic,” says Schaefer. However, significant areas of the populated Nomuka Islands appear to have been washed into the Pacific Ocean.
Reefs broke the tsunami and saved other islands
Tsunamis triggered by submarine mass movements are particularly dangerous in the immediate vicinity. There, the waves will be more than ten meters, while 50 kilometers can still expect a tenth of the altitude.
The tsunami reached the Pacific coast of North and South America thousands of kilometers away from the Tonga eruption, but it did not go far inland and caused only minor damage. However, two swimmers were killed in a torrential downpour on a beach in Peru. Schaefer says the tsunami in Japan, California and South America was still one and a half meters high, indicating particularly large submarine landslides in the Tonga volcano.
Many islands would have been saved from destruction because tsunamis would have shattered coral reefs and barren islands, for example Fiji or Tongatabu. On the other hand, coastal defenses such as the port city of Port Vila in Vanuatu would have been hit by higher waves despite the greater distance from the eruption.
The island of Tonga Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha’boy erupted when its volcano erupted – the eruption erupted in the center of the island.
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