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What impact will Tonga's volcanic eruption have on the global climate and economy?

by Norma Noldo 2 months ago in Nature
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'Epic' volcanic eruptions are shaking up half the world.

Image via pexels

An island submarine volcano in the South Pacific island kingdom of Tonga began to erupt violently, creating a large amount of ash and triggering a tsunami. Satellite observations show that volcanic ash mixed with gas rises over the Pacific Ocean, forming a mushroom cloud with a diameter of 400 to 500 kilometers, and the volcanic ash reaches a height of about 28 kilometers above the ground. The USGS believes it triggered an earthquake equivalent to a magnitude 5.8.

The event is believed to be the largest volcanic eruption in 30 years. Liu Jiaqi, a volcano research expert and academician of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, believes that this is the strongest volcanic eruption on Earth since the eruption of Mount Pinatubo in the Philippines in 1991 (the volcanic eruption index VEI reached level 6).

This volcanic eruption has caused the local network to be almost completely cut off, the communication between the outside world and Tonga has been cut off, the roar of the volcanic eruption can also be heard about 10,000 kilometers away in Alaska, and all the houses on an island in the territory have been destroyed. The tsunami it triggered also affected the entire Pacific coast. Many countries such as Japan and Fiji issued tsunami warnings one after another, and tsunami waves were also monitored in the coastal waters of China.

According to the BBC, three people have died in the disaster so far, including a woman from the UK. The report also pointed out that nearly 230,000 people in Japan need to take refuge, and as many as 80,000 people in Tonga may be affected.

In addition, the economic impact of Tonga's volcanic eruption on the transportation industry, photovoltaics, agriculture and agricultural product supply chains has gradually emerged.

At around 19:00 on January 18, Beijing time, the Tongan government issued the latest statement saying that after the Hongaha Apay Island volcano erupted on the 15th and triggered a large-scale tsunami, all houses on an island in Tonga were destroyed. This is the first statement issued by the Tongan government since the island's volcanic eruption.

So why did Tonga have such a severe volcanic eruption? Will the volcanic eruption affect China? How do you view the impact of Tonga's volcanic eruption on the global climate and economy? This is an important topic to answer in this article.

Why did such a severe volcanic eruption occur?

According to the U.S. Geological Survey, there are about 1,350 potentially active volcanoes worldwide, including 161 in the United States.

According to the Voice of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, the reason why volcanic eruptions affect the climate is that sulfur dioxide gas from volcanic eruptions reaches the stratosphere, and sulfuric acid aerosols are formed in a relatively short period of time (one or two months), and are transported to the world with the stratospheric circulation. throughout. Because of the stable stratospheric circulation, sulfuric acid persists for longer (more than a year), causing near-surface temperature reductions by blocking solar radiation.

In fact, both earthquakes and volcanoes are the way the earth releases energy, and volcanic activity reflects the natural state caused by the flow of energy inside the earth. There is an active magma chamber under the volcano, and the deep magma material is continuously replenished. When the supply reaches a certain level, the magma chamber cannot bear it, and the magma will pour out. There are usually two forms of volcanic eruptions: one is an explosive type, where a huge mushroom cloud-type eruption column can be seen during the eruption, accompanied by magma debris; the other is a quiet overflow, the most typical of which is the Hawaiian volcano, with a large amount of lava Spills, flows slowly, and often forms lava flows, lava quilts, and lava tunnels.

Image via pexels

So, why does the country of Tonga have volcanic eruptions?

Tonga is located about 3,300 kilometers east of Australia. It is an island country composed of 173 islands, most of which are coral islands. About 40 islands are inhabited and the rest are uninhabited. The eruption occurred on the uninhabited island of Hunga tonga-Hunga Ha'apai, about 65 kilometers north of Nuku'alofa, the capital of Tonga. The eruption began on January 14 local time, with a second violent eruption on the afternoon of January 15.

In fact, in the past 100 years, the Hongahaapai Island (undersea volcanism) in the Kingdom of Tonga has been very active and has experienced many eruptions, constantly shaping the appearance of the island. The hidden part of the volcano is about 1800 meters high and wide. About 20 kilometers. The huge submarine volcano tops two small islands about 2 kilometers long, which are the western and northern remnants of the rim of the submarine crater. In December 2014, the Tonga volcano had an eruption.

According to China Science News, Academician Liu Jiaqi believes that the eruption of submarine volcanoes in Tonga is mainly related to the geological environment in which it is located.

He pointed out that, first of all, there is the "second deepest" Tonga Trench near this area - 10,882 meters deep, second only to the Mariana Trench, where magma, volcanoes and seismic activities are relatively active; at the same time, there are many nearby The islands are relatively active in geological structure. As part of the Tonga-Kermadec Islands volcanic arc, earthquakes and volcanoes often occur; in addition, Tonga is at the junction of the Pacific plate and the Oceania plate. The plates collide and subduct each other, which also causes volcanic eruptions and earthquakes. an important factor.


About the author

Norma Noldo

I mainly write introductions about new technologies, long and short stories, and occasionally some personal experiences. Follow me if you like!

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