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The Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha’apai volcano erupted on the sea floor with the force of about 200 nuclear bombs. The tsunami caused by the eruption, which generated 15-meter waves, destroyed houses and killed at least three people in the Pacific kingdom. The natural disaster also damaged communication cables on the seabed, cutting off Tonga from the outside world for weeks, which also delayed aid to the victims.

According to a detailed study by the New Zealand Institute for Water and Atmospheric Research, the volcanic eruption ejected almost ten cubic kilometers of material. Volcanic debris and ash rose more than 40 kilometers into the atmosphere.

Marine geologist Kevin Mackay pointed out that the eruption reached a record height, the first eruption whose debris reached the mesosphere.

A volcano erupting underwater caused a tsunami

Scientists have compared the volcanic eruption in Tonga to the Krakatau disaster in Indonesia in 1883, which at the time caused tens of thousands of deaths. As Mackay explained, the difference is that now an underwater volcano has erupted, and that’s partly what caused the tsunami.

According to MTI, the researchers also discovered that

the crater of the volcano is now 700 meters deeper than it was.

The currents of the eruption, composed of lava, volcanic ash and gases with a temperature of 1000 degrees Celsius and a speed of 700 kilometers per hour, carried the debris from the volcano to a distance of about 80 kilometers on the sea floor. But according to Emily Lane, one of the leading scientists of the research group, this deadly current could have reached up to a hundred kilometers.