Volcanic eruption that occurred in January last year tonga Scientists have confirmed that it produced the fastest underwater flow ever recorded on Earth. Specifically, enormous amounts of rock, ash, and mud have been observed moving across the ocean floor. speeds up to 122 kilometers per hour.
These ‘density currents’, as they are known, had severed long sections of telecommunications cables, cutting off internet connectivity in this small kingdom. They also caused serious damage to local biodiversity. They drowned and killed all marine life that these currents brought in their path.
It should be noted that the underwater volcano Hunga-Tonga Hunga-Ha’apai has already turned to dust. several recordsamong others the following:
-The height of the explosion column increased to 58 kilometers.
– The eruption caused the largest atmospheric disturbance recorded in history.
-It caused the most intense electrical storm known: 2,600 lightning strikes per minute.
Scientists say most of the approximately six cubic kilometers of rock and ash spewed into the sky by the volcano was fell again and spread to the ocean floorbut they were now able to map and measure its underwater trajectory and speed.
To find this data, they took samples from the seafloor to see where the debris was going and compared the moment of the explosion to the moment the cables broke. was there two cables running near the volcano: One connected Tonga to the internet, and the other distributed this service to local islands.
The domestic cable, 50 kilometers from Hunga-Tonga, was the first cable to fall, 15 minutes after the start of the main explosion event. The international telegram, about 70 kilometers away, arrived about an hour later, the BBC reported.
Researchers led by the UK’s National Oceanography Center say their research shows that the flow that cut the local subsea cable must have moved at 73-122 km/h; It is even possible to reach a speed of 47-51 km/h even at the distance of the international cable.
“Rocks and ash fell from the towering explosion column and collapsed into the ocean. When this jet-like material hit the 40-degree slopes of the volcano, it broke off large pieces and became even more dense. “It hit the national cable, swerved around corners and then hit the international cable,” Mike Clare, lead author of the study, told the BBC World Service’s Science In Action programme.
If we consider speeds in the context of other density flows: Mountain snow avalanches can reach speeds of 250 km/h; and the classic debris flow from a terrestrial volcano, called a pyroclastic flow, can reach speeds of up to 700 km/h. But these are events where suspended particles interact with the air.
On the other hand, in the case of Tonga submarine currents, They passed through the waterIt reveals its intensity and power.
What happened in Hunga-Tonga has implications for the companies that operate the global submarine cable network. More than 99% of all data traffic between continents passes through these connections, including daily money transfers worth billions of dollars.
Cables pass near many underwater volcanoes, especially in the Pacific and Caribbean.
Although Tonga’s international cable took five weeks to repair, it took 18 months to replace the national cable.
“Hunga-Tonga once again underlines the need for better seabed mapping. We don’t know what’s out there and we know we don’t control what we do,” he added.
Reference work: https://www.science.org/doi/10.1126/science.adi3038
Contact address of the environment department: [email protected]
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