The January 15 volcanic eruption of an undersea volcano near Tonga killed at least three people. The eruption has defied easy explanation.
According to two new studies published on Thursday in the journal Science, the volcanic eruption unleashed a tsunami wave that traveled around the globe for six days and created hurricane-strength winds in space.
Winds so strong that they affected electric currents, which typically flow to the east, caused the equatorial electrojet to surge to five times its normal peak power and flip direction, moving west for a period of time.
Researchers detected low-frequency atmospheric pressure waves after the Tonga eruption that circled the planet four times in one direction and three times in the opposite direction. These waves are slower than shock waves, but still travel at the speed of sound.
The 1883 Krakatoa eruption was heard 4,800 kilometers (2,980 miles) away, but the pressure waves from the Lamb volcano created a spate of scattered tsunamis that traveled across multiple oceans and seas.
The researchers said more data was needed to understand the mechanism of the eruption. They think hot magma entered into contact with cold water very rapidly, causing violent blasts.
NASA’s ICON mission and the European Space Agency’s Swarm satellites found that the Tonga volcano created hurricane-strength winds in space.
The Tonga volcano’s eruption created one of the most significant disturbances in space we’ve seen in the modern era, flipping particles from their usual east-flowing electric current to a westward direction for a short period.
Find out more at the following news sources:
- Tonga volcanic eruption was the most powerful in more than a century CNN
- Tonga Volcanic Eruption Was So Big It Reached Space With 450 MPH Winds autoevolution
- Crowd-sourcing observations of volcanic eruptions during the 2021 Fagradalsfjall and Cumbre Vieja events Nature.com
- NASA ICON Finds Effects of Massive Tonga Volcanic Eruption Reached Space SciTechDaily
- Satellite mission finds that Tonga volcanic eruption effects reached space Phys.org
- View Full Coverage on Google News