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First aerial pictures from the disaster zone after massive volcanic eruption in Tonga

tonga-after-eruption-aerial-satellite-images-january-2022

The first aerial pictures have emerged from the disaster zone in Tonga after a massive eruption at Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha'apai volcano on January 15, 2022.

Aerial pictures acquired on January 17 by surveillance planes sent by Australia and New Zealand have now emerged showing Tonga covered in a thick layer of ash.

View of Nomuka, Tonga during a reconnaissance flight on January 17, 2022. Credit: New Zealand Defence Force

Image credit: New Zealand Defence Force

Image credit: New Zealand Defence Force

"Following the successful surveillance and reconnaissance flight of a New Zealand P-3K2 Orion on Monday, imagery and details have been sent to relevant authorities in Tonga, to aid in decisions about what support is most needed," New Zealand's Foreign Affairs Minister Nanaia Mahuta said today.1

"However images show ashfall on the Nuku’alofa airport runway that must be cleared before a C-130 Hercules flight with humanitarian assistance can land."

In the meantime, two Royal New Zealand Navy ships will depart New Zealand today.

Note: video contains high-quality Maxar satellite imagery

While Tonga's capital Nuku'alofa experienced tsunami waves up to 1.2 m (4 feet), Ha'apai Islands were hit by waves up to 5 – 10 m (16 – 32 feet) in height, reaching up to 500 m (1 640 feet) inland and causing major damage.

The number of casualties caused by the tsunami is increasing, with 1 person killed and two missing in Tonga, and 2 people killed in Peru, as of January 18.

Electricity and local mobile phone networks have been restored on the main island of Tongatapu but the power connection is not yet stable, the Council for International Development (CID) reports.2

International and inter-island calls are still not possible due to the damage to the undersea cable.

Tonga’s main airport Fua’amotu International Airport is undamaged but heavy ashfall is being cleared and inhibits the airport from being fully operational. The Director of Civil aviation in Tonga advises that the airport runway clearance will take days to complete as this is being conducted manually. The earliest possible clearance is Wednesday, January 19.

Western Tongatapu suffered significant damage and the government has evacuated people from that part of the island.

This map illustrates the effects of the Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha'apai volcanic eruption in Nomuka Island (Mu'omu'a district, Tonga) and damage assessment as detected from a Pleiades image acquired on January 17, 2022 (10:53 LT). On this island, UNOSAT identified ~250 structures. 104 structures were analyzed in the cloud-free area and 41 structures were identified as damaged and almost all the structures were covered with ash. This is a preliminary analysis and has not yet been validated in the field. Credit: UNOSAT

The eruptive column3 reached a height of about 30 km (98 500 feet) above sea level, according to data provided by the Ozone Mapping and Profiler Suite (OMPS) Limb Profiler aboard the Suomi NPP satellite.4

Other estimates suggest the cloud could have reached as high as 39 km (127 900 feet) a.s.l.

Eruption at Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha'apai on January 15, 2022. Credit: JMA/Himawari-8, RAMMB/CIRA, TW

Sentinel-2 satellite image acquired on January 17 confirms the island created during the eruption in 2014/15 was completely destroyed.

Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha'apai volcano on December 18, 2021, January 2, 2022 and January 17, 2022. Credit: Copernicus EU/Sentinel-2, Sentinel Hub, TW

Tongatapu Island, Tonga on December 23, 2021 and January 17, 2022. Credit: Copernicus EU/Sentinel-2, Sentinel Hub, TW

Tongatapu on January 17, 2022. Credit: Copernicus EU/Sentinel-2, TW

Nuku'alofa, Tongatapu on January 17, 2022. Distance: 65 km (40 miles) N of the volcano. Credit: Copernicus EU/Sentinel-2, TW

Tonumea and Kelefesia islands, Tonga January 14, 2022 (pre-eruption). Distance 66 km (41 miles) and 69 km (43 miles) E of the volcano. Credit: Copernicus EU/Sentinel-2, TW

Tonumea and Kelefesia islands, Tonga on January 17, 2022 (post-eruption). Distance 66 km (41 miles) and 69 km (43 miles) E of the volcano. Credit: Copernicus EU/Sentinel-2, TW

Nomuka and Fonoifua islands, Tonga January 14, 2022 (pre-eruption). Distance: 70 km (43 miles) and 85 km (53 miles) NNE of the volcano. Credit: Copernicus EU/Sentinel-2, TW

Nomuka and Fonoifua islands, Tonga on January 17, 2022 (post-eruption). Distance: 70 km (43 miles) and 85 km (53 miles) NNE of the volcano. Credit: Copernicus EU/Sentinel-2, TW

Nomuka island, Tonga January 14, 2022 (pre-eruption). Distance: 70 km (43 miles) NNE of the volcano. Credit: Copernicus EU/Sentinel-2, TW

Nomuka island, Tonga on January 17, 2022 (post-eruption). Distance: 70 km (43 miles) NNE of the volcano. Credit: Copernicus EU/Sentinel-2, TW

Kelefesia island, Tonga on December 12, 2021 (pre-eruption). Distance: 69 km (43 miles) E of the volcano. Credit: Copernicus EU/Sentinel-2, TW-sentinel-2

Kelefesia island, Tonga on January 17, 2022 (post-eruption). Distance: 69 km (43 miles) E of the volcano. Credit: Copernicus EU/Sentinel-2, TW

References:

1 Tonga Response – New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF)

2 Situation in Tonga following the volcano eruption – CID

3 Massive eruption at Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha'apai produces huge shockwave and 1.2 m high tsunami, Tonga – The Watchers

4 Height of Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha'apai eruption reached 30 km (98 500 feet) a.s.l., Tonga – The Watchers

Featured image credit: New Zealand Defence Force

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5 Comments

  1. I might be a bit slow here and I can’t be arsed to see if there really is a massive volcanic eruption, is this just news in the Marvel Cinematic Universe and the above news is from The Eternals film?

  2. Eruption mass was something about 20 km3, first eruption fired volcanic cloud in high of 20 km, second maybe in 30 km (as a overshooting top). Density of cloud was typical 50 kg/m3, energy of explosion E= hDg V, volcanic diffusion (explosion pressure) into atmosphere the same as a hydrostatic pressure in water (air has a same physical origin as a water), h- the high of fired column, g -gravitational acceleration, D-density of column, V – Volume of eruptive mass. Output energy of explosion Hunga Tsonga is 0,94 of Tsar bomba fired on Novaya Zemlya at 30-th. October 1961. The Shockwave 2-3 HPa gone over Earth is in line with shockwave of Tsar bomba observed.

  3. Things will only get worse with each hour that passes, so (if you have not already done so): Turn your eyes to Jesus- repent of your disbelief of what He did on the Cross in dying for your sins. Confess Jesus as your Saviour. Then understand that after you are born again, NOTHING else in this crazy world matters….except telling others of Jesus.
    From the book of Romans: 10:9 That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. 10:10For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. 10:11For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed.
    to know more go to: nowtheendbegins (dot) com/eternal-life-through-the-blood-of-jesus-christ-is-a-free-gift/
    From the King James Bible; The Gospel according to John:
    3:16For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. 3:17For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.

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