The eruption that rocked the tiny island nation of Tonga has quickly made history. Current reports conclude the Tonga eruption as the biggest to take place in 30 years. Thick blankets of ash made the island inaccessible for days, hindering rescue efforts. International calls saw major disruption following the destruction of an underwater cable. Now, reports state the Tongan eruption was so loud and powerful, it left many island citizens deaf.
According to Fox News, evacuations at the time of the Tonga eruption were further complicated as fleeing citizens were forced to signal to each other as many could not hear.
A journalist on the Tongan island at the time, Marian Kupu, told Reuters, “The first explosion…our ears were ringing and we couldn’t even hear each other, so all we do is [point] to our families to get up, get ready to run.”
Unbelievably, the news outlet further stated the undersea Tonga eruption outranked the power of the nuclear bomb dropped on Hiroshima during WWII. It packed 600 times the power of the deadly atomic explosion. That said, the NPR also reported the eruption likely ranks as one of the loudest events to occur on the planet within the last century.
“This might be the loudest eruption since Krakatau in 1883,” Geophysicist Michael Poland stated. The 19th-century eruption took place several thousand miles away in Indonesia.
Tonga Eruption’s Aftershocks Reach Globally, with Aftershocks in North Carolina
It’s taken long days of waiting, but finally, rescue efforts from New Zealand and Australia have been able to access Tongan runways. Tongan residents have begun to see both supplies and manpower alike. The two nations currently serve as the major driving force behind the island nation’s rescue and recovery efforts. New Zealand additionally pledged one million in their own currency toward disaster relief efforts.
That said, the power of the Tongan eruption alone registered worldwide. That included regions as far away as North Carolina. Aftershocks from the explosion traveled across the Southern state at a rapid 740 miles per hour.
In a Twitter post following the eruption, a meteorologist based in NC reported the massive disaster’s effects traveled a vast distance between Tonga and NC, with more than 7,000 miles between the two.
Additionally, the meteorologist shared a live map. It demonstrates the direction and power of the aftershocks as they traveled across the state.
The natural disaster no doubt caused mass destruction on the Tongan island. It wreaked terrifying havoc on residents broadly. However, those who saw the map expressed their awe at the sheer power of the eruption.
“OK, now this is pretty awesome,” shared one Twitter user. “Shockwave from the volcano eruption traveled around the world and crossed NC (and VA) at around 9 am.”
Awesome might seem like a strange term, regarding the amount of destruction and casualties that have already been recorded. However, in its traditional sense, we might translate “awesome” to, “causing feelings of fear and wonder,” based on the Merriam-Webster definition. In which case, the term falls nothing short of the horrific event that took place last Saturday.