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Tongan volcanic eruption ‘biggest explosion’ ever

This explosion was far bigger than any 20th century volcanic event, and even bigger that any atom bomb tests conducted since WWII, BBC said in a report.

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Nukuʻalofa: The Tongan Volcano’s eruption that occurred in January this year has been declared as the biggest explosion ever recorded in the earth’s atmosphere, media reports said on Sunday. 

This explosion was far bigger than any 20th century volcanic event, and even bigger that any atom bomb tests conducted since WWII, BBC said in a report.

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The assessment of the eruption came in a pair of research papers in the journal Science which reviewed all empirical data.

Speaking to BBC news Robin Matoza, from the University of California, Santa Barbara said “Tonga was a truly global event, just as Krakatau was, but we’ve now got all these geophysical observation systems and they recorded something that was really unprecedented in the modern data.”
Matoza is the lead author of one of the papers.

In recent history, it’s likely that only the Krakatoa eruption of 1883 rivalled the Tonga volcanic eruption.  That catastrophic event in Indonesia is said to claimed more than 30,000 lives. 

Fortunately, the January 15 climactic eruption of the underwater volcano at Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha’apai (HTHH) in the south Pacific resulted in very few deaths, despite the fact that it triggered large tsunamis.

Early data in the aftermath of the explosion suggested it was the biggest since the 1991 Mount Pinatubo eruption in the Philippines, but the Science studies, which involved 76 scientists from 17 countries, have suggested that the pressure waves it unleashed were similar to those generated by the cataclysmic 1883 Krakatoa eruption and 10 times larger than those from the 1980 Mount St. Helens eruption in Skamania County, Washington, CNN said in its report.

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