Scientists understand why the tsunami after the eruption of the Tonga volcano was so strong

In a new paper published in the journal Nature, an international team of scientists said that the exceptional

the event is caused by acoustic-gravity waves (AGWs). They, in turn, appeared as a result of a powerful volcanic explosion.

As these waves converged on each other, energy was continuously pumped into the tsunami, causing it to grow in size, spread much farther, faster and longer.

Volcano eruption Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha'apai 15January 2022 was the largest volcanic eruption of the 21st century and the largest eruption since Krakatoa in 1883. The explosion was hundreds of times more powerful than the atomic bomb that was dropped on Hiroshima.

The eruption became a source of both atmosphericdisturbances, as well as the exceptionally fast moving tsunami waves that have been recorded all over the world. This puzzled scientists. “The idea that tsunamis can be caused by atmospheric waves that appeared as a result of volcanic eruptions is not new. But this was recorded for the first time by modern instruments with a high measurement density around the world. This allowed us to finally unravel the exact mechanism behind these unusual phenomena,” said Ricardo Ramalho, co-author of the study and fellow at the School of Earth and Environmental Sciences at Cardiff University.

AGW are very long sound waves.propagating under the influence of gravity. They can cut through both the ocean depths and the atmosphere at the speed of sound. Occurs as a result of volcanic eruptions or earthquakes. Given the location of Tonga in shallow water, the interaction of energetic AGWs with the water surface was inevitable, the scientists note.

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