Skywatch Media News for the final week of January, 2022. When the Hunga-Tonga Haapai volcano erupted on January 15, the force of the eruption sent shockwaves across the world. It is now considered to be the biggest eruption to take place on this planet in the past 30 years.
Volcanologists have indicated that the Tongan volcano is capable of producing a massive explosion roughly every 1,000 years, which is akin to a weapons-grade chemical explosion. The volcano, which has erupted several times in recent years, is part of the Pacific Ring of Fire, home to some of the world’s most active volcanoes.
At the time of the eruption a giant shockwave observed by satellite imagery, spread out in all directions. The wave was followed by sonic booms heard across the Pacific and as far as Alaska, nearly 5600 miles from the epicenter. On the day of the eruption, Residents of Alaska report being woken up between 5:00 pm and 6:45 pm to a loud rumbling. Scientists believe the sonic boom was the loudest sound on earth to happen since the 1883 eruption of Krakatau in Indonesia, which was estimated to be a deafening 235 dB in the epicenter.
The shockwave resulted in a noticeable jump in atmospheric pressure from observation points across the globe followed by a sharp decline as the shockwave passed by. Data collected on January 16 by CALIPSO (Infrared pathfinder Satellite Observations Mission) shows toxic material from the eruption rising to an altitude of 19 miles (31 km), with some ash and gas possibly reaching as high as 25 miles (39.7 km) This places the material well within the upper stratosphere.