Massive eruption in Tonga (2 Viewers)

Equus

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It's quite something to be able to see this stuff with modern satellites... this one's in range of GOES-W, even
 

Jacob

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This seems like a very large eruption to my completely untrained eye. Is this looking like one of the bigger eruptions of the last century?
 

WesL

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So is the equivalent of our EF discussions?

 

bjdeming

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So is the equivalent of our EF discussions?

:)

I thought of the VEI scale during that discussion. The thing to keep in mind is that this is an explosive phase of a longstanding eruption that has been very dynamic, producing pumice rafts, but AFAIK not a lot of volume (something the VEI scale is based on).

And it isn't over yet. The big question is, was this from gas buildup after the conduit was plugged or is the volcano transitioning into a new phase (which would definitely raise the VEI over time).

A few tweets (have been offline since yesterday morning, so this is preliminary):

Alaska and the pressure wave:


Physical changes pre blast:


Tonga tsunami:


Some good news - very little sulfur, given the scale of the explosion. Maybe this is a one-off thing when seawater reached the magma reservoir?


Awesome lightning:

 
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bjdeming

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The GVP is doing a whole thread on it:


They don't come out and say this is a VEI 2 eruption (check out the eruptive history on the main page -- few eruptions and mostly VEI 2 in the past.)

I think they're waiting before putting a number on this one, with good reason!



They'll probably update the volcano's page, too.
 
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MNTornadoGuy

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:)

I thought of the VEI scale during that discussion. The thing to keep in mind is that this is an explosive phase of a longstanding eruption that has been very dynamic, producing pumice rafts, but AFAIK not a lot of volume (something the VEI scale is based on).

And it isn't over yet. The big question is, was this from gas buildup after the conduit was plugged or is the volcano transitioning into a new phase (which would definitely raise the VEI over time).

A few tweets (have been offline since yesterday morning, so this is preliminary):

Alaska and the pressure wave:


Physical changes pre blast:


Tonga tsunami:


Some good news - very little sulfur, given the scale of the explosion. Maybe this is a one-off thing when seawater reached the magma reservoir?


Awesome lightning:

The SO2 is from the previous eruption before the big one.
 

bjdeming

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True. We'll just have to wait. I really hope it's just water-magma. (Edit: Yeah, about that...)

Here's the latest view from TROPOMI of SO2 from the January 14th blast.

 
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KoD

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I watched a video from one of my favorite space-related content creators who does a fine job detailing the event and showing several satellite animations and the geography changes leading up to the eruption.

The shock wave/pressure wave coming off that eruption is incredible.
 

bjdeming

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Jan. 15th SO2:


Among the replies is another geologist's note that the sulfur content, while 20x previous eruptions here, is relatively small. If it turns out that this blast has stabilized the plumbing system, good! But if the caldera is waking up, well, pulsed blasts of even moderate SO2 over months to a few years might add up.

At 20° S, I don't know what the ITCZ and South Pacific Convergence Zone could do, in terms of transporting the aerosols that are forming now; have merely read that the ITCZ helps to globalize aerosol in equatorial eruptions, whose climate effects might otherwise be limited to one hemisphere.
 

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