Tongan Volcano Explodes


Ben Robinson, Reporter

In possibly the biggest explosion in centuries, a volcano in Tonga erupts killing at least 3 people in the after-effects. The blast, estimated at 10 megatons of TNT left Tongan people without electricity, running water, or communications. They are still struggling to pick themselves back up from ruins and dust off the ash.

One of the greatest dangers currently in Tonga is the volcanic ash that has fallen. There is concern that it will render water supplies unusable.

The Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha’aipa volcano is fairly active and had created a newly formed island with eruptions in recent years. In this latest explosive eruption, it blew up all of its work and a good share of two adjacent uninhabited islands as well.

There are humanitarian efforts to help them to recover, however, this is expected to be difficult because of strict coronavirus guidelines and restrictions. In fact, since the pandemic has started there has been only a single confirmed case in Tonga. There have also been over 130,000 coronavirus vaccines administered among Tongan people. Despite the restrictions and guidelines, the people of Tonga are still in need of help and it looks like they are going to receive it.

One person who has started to help in a very big way is Pita Taufatofua; a Tongan Taekwondo athlete and UNICEF ambassador. He is also the official Tongan Flag Bearer. Taufatofua has created a GoFundMe page that can be found here, that has currently collected over 500,000 dollars.

Tsunamis were detected in the Pacific, Atlantic, Mediterranean, and Caribbean.

The volcano was located about 500 feet underwater and the explosion was amplified because as soon as the magma hits the seawater, it generates steam. The shallow depth literally supercharged the volcano into exploding much more forcefully. These were perfect conditions for the volcano to be phenomenally volatile. The explosion created a shockwave that went halfway around the world and the sound from the sonic boom was heard 1,300 miles away. A tsunami quickly followed, it was the biggest wave recorded in over 20 years.