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How big was the Tonga eruption?

January 14, 2022 | Environment

The underwater volcano erupted with a deafening explosion on Jan. 15, triggering deadly tsunamis, covering islands in ash, and knocking out communications for Tonga's 105,000 people

The event was captured in astonishing detail by satellites including the NOAA GOES-West satellite, shown below.

Satellite images: NOAA. Jan. 21, 2022

Breaking down the stages of the eruption into intervals allows us to plot the expansion of the enormous plume of material that volcanologists call an “umbrella cloud”.