Deadly Tongan volcano unlikely to erupt in near future

May 24, 2022 10:00 am

[Source: RNZ]

The Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha’apai volcano that devastated Tonga after a massive eruption on 15 January is unlikely to erupt again, say scientists from New Zealand’s National Institute for Water and Atmospheric Research (Niwa).

Niwa research vessel RV Tangaroa arrived back from a maritime expedition to Tonga last week.

Three people were killed and hundreds of homes were destroyed from tsunamis generated from the massive eruption, estimated to be 500 times more powerful than the atom bomb that destroyed Hiroshima.

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The Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha’apai volcanic eruption generated the second-largest sound ever recorded since Indonesia’s Krakatoa eruption in 1883. It also produced the largest atmospheric explosion ever recorded.

Kevin Mckay, who led Niwa’s expedition to Tonga on board the RV Tangaroa says the likelihood of another violent eruption happening anytime soon is quite low.

Mckay says looking at the general cycle of these volcanos, they seem to have a two-and-a-half to three-year eruptive cycle adding that he estimates the chances of another violent eruption from this particular volcano in the near future are not very high at all.