Volcanic mountains

Volcanic eruption did something researchers can’t explain – NRK Urix

On Saturday January 15, the Hongga Tonga – Hanga Hawapai volcano erupted in the Pacific Ocean. The explosion was the most powerful on earth Since 1962. energy Estimated at ten megatons DTT.

The shock wave from the eruption traveled away from the volcano at almost the speed of sound. At 6:20 p.m. the same day, it struck Finnmark and headed south. After about 90 minutes, all of Norway has passed.

Shock: A pressure gauge at Kavringen in Oslo recorded the shock wave from the Tonga eruption as it passed around 1930 on Saturday.

Photo: Port of Oslo/NRK

It is not this wave that scientists are now watching with great interest, but a series of much slower waves in the atmosphere.

gravitational waves

The waves were picked up by NASA’s Aqua satellite. This seems to be the style you get when you drop a small rock into a perfectly calm pond. Scientists know what it is, gravitational wavesbut they don’t know how they were made.

– It’s totally unique. We’ve never seen anything like this in our data before, says atmospheric researcher Lars Hoffmann at the Jülich Supercomputing Center in Germany. in nature.

Satellite images show a series of waves that extend 16,000 kilometers from the volcano. The waves have affected the entire atmosphere and can change the state of near space around the Earth. Space scientist Gareth Dorian writes I am the conversation.

That’s what the images show, but scientists think the waves circled the Earth multiple times.

Rock waves, gravitational waves in Norway

Mountain Waves: In this image, a series of mountain waves tower over the northern counties of Norway.

Photo: NOAA/MET

big moves

Atmospheric gravitational waves occur when air masses rise or fall. This usually happens when the wind hits the mountains. In Norway we just call them mountain waves.

Certainly, the waves that arose from the volcano in the Pacific Ocean were not formed by the winds encountering the mountains. The researchers have not found the mechanism.

– This is all very strange. It must have something to do with the physics of the volcanic eruption, University of Bath researcher Corwin Wright tells Nature, but we don’t know what.

What happened during the eruption was that large amounts of hot gases were sent very quickly 30 kilometers into the atmosphere. It made the other tune move.

Explosion in Tonga seen from a satellite

Superpowers: Within minutes, hot volcanic gases blew through the lower layers of the atmosphere.

Photo: Himawari

An erroneous image showing the volcanic cloud from the eruption of the Tonga volcano on a satellite image of France.

Very large: To show the extent of the crash, someone placed the volcanic cloud on a satellite image of France.

Photo: Reddit/NOAA/Goes West

was in europe

Scientists believe the gravitational waves were caused by gas flowing from the volcano. The challenge is that this type of volcanic eruption has happened many times before, without it appearing that such scattered waves caused it.

The satellite instrument that captured this has been working for 20 years now and has never detected such circular waves before, says researcher Hoffman.

What the researchers point out is that the explosion had global effects. Wave energy can affect weather systems thousands of miles away.

Simulation of dangerous atmospheric calibration waves.

Previously known: Here, gravitational waves in the upper atmosphere are simulated in a supercomputer. Scientists have long known that such waves can affect the weather.

Photo: H.-L. Liu et al.

The outbreak may have been short-lived, but its effects could be long-lasting. Gravitational waves can affect wind direction in the tropics, and it can affect the weather as far away as Europe, says climatologist Scott Osprey of Oxford Nature.

“It’s something we’ll be watching closely,” Osprey adds.

On Twitter, he illustrates the confusion that now reigns among researchers. The volcanic eruption resulted in the formation of many different waves. The challenge is to understand how they affect each other and how it affects the rest of the atmosphere.

A Twitter post from researcher Scott Osprey lists all the different waves that formed.

Lots of differences: The effects of a volcanic eruption have become controversial food for scientists.

Photo: Twitter