Tonga’s volcano eruption caused an astonishing 2,600 lightning strikes per minute

In an unprecedented volcanic eruption, the Hunga volcano unleashed an incredible display of electrical activity, surpassing the power of an atomic bomb.

On January 15, 2022, the underwater caldera near Tonga experienced a dramatic escalation, spewing 2.3 cubic miles of molten rock and vaporizing 146 teragrams of water.

The resulting plume reached a height of 36 miles, resembling a colossal mushroom cloud. This eruption set a new record for volcanic lightning, with an astonishing 2,600 lightning strikes per minute, exceeding any previous event in scientific history.

The eruption’s intensity and the formation of a 280-kilometer-diameter donut of electrical discharges astounded researchers, who traced the phenomenon to plume particles riding a volcanic “gravity wave.”

Edited by Damilola Adeleke

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