Tonga erupts!

By Phil Plait | March 19, 2009 7:00 pm

The Big Picture has a great series of photos of a recent eruption from an undersea volcano near Tonga, located a few hundred kilometers southeast of Fiji.

Tonga eruption

Yikes!

This afternoon an earthquake in the region triggered a brief tsunami warning that blew over. It may very well be that a small tremor a few days ago is what triggered this eruption, too.

In case you ever wonder just how much energy is involved even in a small blast, consider this: the plume of ash and rock goes up several hundred meters. OK, go outside and find a rock that masses about 10 kilos. Now climb a flight of steps with it and see how tired you get. Now imagine climbing 100 flights of stairs with it.

Now imagine doing that with, say, a million of those rocks. That’s how much energy it takes to blast the plume into the sky.

Never misunderestimate planet Earth. There’s a lot of energy just sitting there under our feet, and sometimes it struggles free.

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Cool stuff, Pretty pictures
ADVERTISEMENT

Comments are closed.

NEW ON DISCOVER
OPEN
CITIZEN SCIENCE
ADVERTISEMENT

Discover's Newsletter

Sign up to get the latest science news delivered weekly right to your inbox!

ADVERTISEMENT

See More

ADVERTISEMENT
Collapse bottom bar
+