Volcano Eruption has Significant Implications for “Boiling Earth”

When the Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha’apai (HTHH) volcano erupted it shot 40 trillion gallons of seawater into the atmosphere at a speed approaching escape velocity at well over 20,000mph. 

The HTHH volcano is a submarine volcano located about 30 kilometers south-southeast of the island of Fonuafo’ou, in the island nation of Tonga in the South Pacific Ocean. This volcano lies along the Tofua volcanic arc, a curving line of active and extinct volcanoes in the region.  It has its own X page and is described as: Mischievously explosive submarine volcano in Tonga. Currently holds title for most explosive eruption of the 21st century!

Submarine volcanoes are fascinating geological features that occur beneath the surface of the ocean. They are a significant part of Earth’s volcanic activity, with estimates suggesting that around 75% of the Earth’s annual magma output comes from submarine volcanism.

Submarine volcanoes do have unique characteristics compared to their terrestrial counterparts, primarily due to the high-pressure, high-moisture environment in which they erupt.

When a submarine volcano erupts, the intense pressure of the surrounding water can prevent the explosive disintegration of magma that forms volcanic ash. Instead, the erupted materials are often in the form of pillow lava, which forms when the magma cools rapidly upon contact with water, or in the form of volcanic glass particles. However, if a submarine eruption is powerful enough to break the water’s surface, it can produce ash clouds, as has been observed in various instances. Great article here. 

In a recent paper, the researchers argue that the HTHH eruption has had profound effects on global climate, including temperatures and precipitation which will continue to have effects for the rest of decade

Long-term surface impact of Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha’apai-like stratospheric water vapor injection