Natural Disasters

Shockwaves of the submarine volcano in Tonga felt till Chennai

Shockwaves generated by Tonga volcano travelled at a speed of around 1,200 kmph to reach the skies of Chennai 10 hours after the event

By DTE Staff
Published: Wednesday 19 January 2022

The sound of the eruption was heard in many parts of the world. As far away as the United States.

On Saturday, January15, 2022, the underwater volcano at Tonga erupted, about 65 km north of the capital Nuku'alofa, triggering a tsunami that flooded Pacific coastlines from Japan to the US.

It caused waves higher than a metre to crash into Tonga. Detailed information about its impact on Tonga is yet to emerge as communication remains cut off.

GOES satellite imagery captured the eruption of the underwater volcano early Saturday morning.

Tongans living overseas are facing an anxious wait for news of loved ones as the eruption cut the internet to Tonga. Even government websites and other official sources have remained without any updates.

According to the Tonga Geological Services, the plumes of gas, smoke and ash pouring from the volcano reached 20 km into the sky. About 100,000 Tongans living in the 170 scattered islands are advised to drink bottled water and wear masks, as the dust from the volcano could contaminate water supplies.

The shockwave generated by the massive volcanic eruption in Tonga was felt in many parts of the globe. In India, it was recorded in Chennai, which is located 12,000 km away from Tonga.

It was recorded as a blip in the atmospheric pressure that suddenly spiked by around two hectopascals (hPa). This was around 10 hours after the eruption happened in Tonga.

According to S Venkataramanan, a PhD scholar from IIT Madras, the shockwave travelled at a speed of around 1,200 kmph to reach the skies of the city 10 hours after the event. He also said the rare event was yet another reminder that nature had no boundaries.

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