This conclusion has been drawn in a study published in the journal Science Issue dated 8 September.
The research was conducted by a group of scientists from the UK National Oceanography Center (NOC).
Accordingly, scientists recorded that during the January 2022 eruption, the Hanga Tonga-Hanga Ha’apai volcano beneath the Pacific Ocean spewed rock, ash and gas across the ocean at a speed of 122 km/h. It is the most powerful explosion ever recorded with modern instruments.
The eruption caused a powerful tsunami and “avalanche-like flows”, damaging undersea telecommunications cables connecting the Tonga archipelago to the rest of the world. The research team relied on the time and location of the cable failure to calculate the velocity of flow.
According to NOC scientist Mike Clair, the volcano’s eruptive column is 57 km high, falling straight into the water and down underwater slopes. The speed and intensity of sea currents are so high that they can travel at least 100 km below the seabed and break cables.
Flows generated by volcanic eruptions move faster than flows generated by earthquakes, floods and storms.
This is the first study to document what happens when large amounts of volcanic material erupt directly into the ocean. Scientists have calculated that the eruption of the Hanga Tonga-Hanga Ha’apai volcano in 2022 could release the power equivalent to hundreds of nuclear bombs.
Meanwhile, NOC researcher Isobel Yeo said there are many volcanoes located under the sea but very few are monitored, and this threatens coastal communities and critical infrastructure. “Still don’t understand”.