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Tonga eruption equivalent to hundreds of Hiroshimas: NASA

ناسا: قوة ثوران بركان تونغا تخطت قنبلة هيروشيما بمئات المرات


The Tonga volcanic eruption unleashed explosive forces that dwarfed the power of the Hiroshima atomic bomb, NASA scientists have said, as survivors on Monday described how the devastating Pacific blast “messed up our brains”.

The NASA Earth Observatory said the Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha’apai volcano spewed debris as high as 25 miles into the atmosphere during the January 15 eruption, which triggered huge tsunami waves.

“We think the amount of energy released by the eruption was equivalent to somewhere between five to 30 million ton of TNT,” NASA scientist Jim Garvin said in a press release.

NASA said the eruption was hundreds of times stronger than the US atomic bomb dropped on the Japanese city of Hiroshima in August 1945, which was estimated to be about 15,000 ton of TNT.

The agency said the eruption “obliterated” the volcanic island about 41 miles north of the Tongan capital of Nuku’alofa.

It blanketed the island kingdom of about 100,000 in a layer of toxic ash, poisoning drinking water, destroying crops and completely wiping out at least two villages.

It also claimed at least three lives in Tonga and resulted in the drowning deaths of two beachgoers in Peru after freak waves hit the South American country.

Peruvian authorities have declared an environmental disaster after the waves hit an oil tanker offloading near Lima, creating a huge slick along the coast.

In Tonga, the scale of destruction remains unclear after communications to remote islands were knocked out.

Nuku’alofa-based journalist Mary Lyn Fonua said locals were still coming to terms with the scale of the disaster.

“It’s so beyond what anyone here has ever experienced,” she told AFP.

“The shockwave from the eruption just messed up our brains, we’re just starting to return to normal now.”

Fonua said the coating of fine grey grime covering everything was proving difficult to live with and raising concerns about long-term health issues.

“It gets everywhere,” she said. “It irritates your eyes, you get sores in the corner of your mouth, everyone has blackened fingernails — we look like a grubby lot.

“We need a good tropical deluge to wash everything away.”

Japanese, New Zealand and Australian defense forces have started delivering urgent relief supplies, particularly water, while maintaining strict COVID-19 protocols to preserve Tonga’s virus-free status.


أكدت وكالة الفضاء الأمريكية /ناسا/ أن قوة ثوران بركان جزر تونغا الذي وقع في 15 يناير الجاري تخطت قوة قنبلة هيروشيما النووية بمئات المرات .

وذكرت ناسا ، أن ثوران البركان بلغ قوة تخطت بمئات المرات القنبلة النووية الأمريكية التي أسقطت على مدينة /هيروشيما/ اليابانية في أغسطس 1945، وقدرت قوتها بحوالي 15 كيلو طن أي 15 ألف طن من مادة تي ن تي.

وذكر مرصد الأرض في ناسا ، أن البركان نفث دخانا على شكل فطر بلغ ارتفاعه 40 كلم خلال ثورانه الذي سمع دويه حتى ألاسكا على بعد 9000 كلم، وأدى إلى موجات تسونامي.

وأشارت الوكالة إلى أن ثوران البركان أباد الجزيرة البركانية الواقعة على بعد نحو 65 كلم شمال نوكو ألوفا عاصمة تونغا،وغطت قشرة رماد سامة الجزيرة التي يقطنها حوالي 100 ألف شخص، وسممت مياه الشرب، ودمرت المحاصيل الزراعية، وأبادت قريتين على الأقل بالكامل.

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