Pacific volcano: The eruption of Tonga triggered the megatsunami

In order to simulate them, the researchers collected different types of data: satellite images from before and after the volcanic eruption, images obtained using lidar technology, drone images, and eyewitness reports about damage to windows and the size of the eruptions, among others.

What caused tsunamis?

From their model, Burkes and his team deduced that five volcanic eruptions in Tonga caused tsunamis in January 2022. The last three were the most powerful, at 0.5, 4 and 15 megatons. However, the study authors also acknowledge that the final shock is not reflected in the available seismic data. A plausible explanation, however, is that the volcanic plume that went up collapsed and developed the corresponding strength.

Expert Cyprien Bosserelle of the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research in New Zealand also thinks there is a greater need for interpretation here. However, future work could reveal other clues, he told Australia’s Science Media Centre. “The evidence that the largest tsunami actually came from a volcanic eruption is still very weak, but it is the best explanation so far.”

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