The Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha’apai explosion on 15-January-2022

This is a special article about the eruption and the explosion in Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha’apai volcano, close to Tonga in the Pacific Ocean. I don’t know a lot about this volcano so I might get details wrong. This is also not a long article, because of lack of my knowledge. Because of copyright, I can’t use any images in this article.

At 04:00 UTC on 15-January-2022 an eruption started in >Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha’apai volcano, that is 65 distance from Tonga islands (population around 100.000). In what seems to be a process that only took about 1 to 3 hours, the eruption exploded with largest eruption force in modern history. This is possibly largest eruption since 1912 (Alaska) in the world or even largest eruption since Krakatoa in 1883. According to articles, research into this volcano suggest that it has an explosive period eruption phase every 1000 years, the last one being around the year 1100. The length of this eruption seems to have been 3 to 5 hours in total and in last 24 hours there have been reports of a lot smaller eruptions happening. Each of them only lasting few hours at most.

When the explosion happened it created a tsunami that hit Tonga few moments later with waves up to 1,13 meters high and Fiji islands where it with waves that where around 80 cm high (reports). Around 13 hours later, the tsunami hit the west coast of the United States and Canada, Los Angeles area and other coastal areas. The sound wave that followed was heard clearly 2300 km away in New Zealand and in Alaska at distance of 9373 km, the explosion was also heard clearly in Fiji islands that are in 700 to 1000 km distance. The air pressure wave that happened during the explosion did go over the Earth two times, it was detected in Iceland at around 17:00 to 18:00 on 15-January-2022 and the second wave was detected on 16-January-2022 at around 05:00 to 06:00 in Iceland.

It is going to take years to understand the size and effects of this volcano explosion because how remote it is, since it is out in the ocean and next populated area is 65 km away and that’s the only monitoring of this volcano, since other options are not possible for monitoring of Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha’apai volcano.

The effects of the explosion was largest in Tonga that is now cut off from the internet because of damage to undersea fibre cable that connects them to the internet. How long that repair work is going to take depends on a lot of things, but it can take weeks or months until fibre connection is restored. There was also a lot of tsunami damage in Tonga, how extensive it is I don’t know because of lack of reports.

This is all I have for now on this eruption. I don’t know if I’ll write another article about this event, since I only cover world events that are major events and this volcano explosion has been classified in my system as a major volcano event.

More detailed article with images of the volcano

Why the volcanic eruption in Tonga was so violent, and what to expect next (The Conversation)

Update on the eruption in Fagradalsfjall mountain on 11-June-2021

This is not going to be a long update since there has not been a lot of change during the last week. There has been some and this is what happened. This is part of Krýsuvík-Trölladyngja volcano system (until the studies are updated).

  • The main crater is slowly closing and lava fountain activity has almost or has ended at the writing of this article.
  • The main crater is now around 100 meters high. Lava depth is from 10 to 70 meters thick depending on a location. There is a map but for copyright reasons I can’t show it here.
  • Lava flow is now permanent and does not happen between overflows necessary.
  • Lava lake might be forming in the crater, but the status of that remains unclear at the writing of this article.
  • There are overflows happening in the crater but according to the news the main lava flow happens underground in large dykes that go from the main crater into the lava field. Creating lava ponds that regularly break and expand the lava field at random.
  • Today (11-June-2021) people that are idiots where seen walking on the fresh lava that has a surface temperature from 50C to 100C in order to get to the viewing area (blocked by fresh lava flows) and one did even go as far walking on the slopes of the crater and almost ending up as part of the lava field him self. Video of that can be seen here on mbl.is website. As can be seen the lava flows them self are human height and can bury a person in a few seconds time.
  • Fresh lava in Fagradalsfjall is hot. While it is only 100C on the surface it can be 900C just few centimetres down and can go as high as 1100C if a surface of a lava tube is broken.
  • Yesterday (10-June-2021) a change happened in the eruption and that resulted in a change in the harmonic tremor that continues. Suggesting a permanent or a long term change to the eruption. What this mean is unclear currently.

There are no other updates as is. Next update should be on 18-June-2021 unless something happens in this eruption. Other parts of Iceland are quiet at the writing of this article.

Blue, green and purple show the harmonic tremor from the eruption in Fagradalsfjall. The change on 10-June shows a sharp edged harmonic tremor plot.
The harmonic tremor on nearby SIL station to the eruption in Fagradalsfjall mountain. Copyright of this image belongs to Icelandic Met Office.

Donations

Please remember to support my work with donations. Currently most of my work is trying to monitor the eruption in Fagradalsfjall mountain. Thanks for the support. 🙂

Update on the eruption in Fagradalsfjall mountain on 30-April-2021

This is a short update on the eruption in Fagradalsfjall mountain on 30-April-2021.

There has not been any major changes since last update. This are the noticeable changes since last update in the eruption in Krýsuvík-Trölladyngja volcano system.

  • Just one crater is now erupting. All other craters have stopped erupting but for now some of them might contain lava lake for now that might be creating a flow in lava tubes under the surface in the lava field. This process might not be visible on the surface.
  • A lot of activity now is in form of high lava arcs (correct word?) are now being formed in the one crater because of increased gas content of the lava.
  • Lava fields are slowly filling up all nearby valleys that it is flowing into. This is a slow process and is going to take months.
  • There are no signs the eruption is about to end.

No other updates have been reported so far. Rúv has installed a new web camera to give better view of the eruption. That camera can be found on YouTube Rúv channel.

Vacation

I am going on a small vacation between 5th May and 10th May. That means next update about the eruption is going to be on 14th May. I don’t know if I can go to the eruption yet as that depends on the weather and the weather is always unstable in Iceland.

Earthquake activity south of Keilir mountain

During the night of 27-April-2021 an earthquake swarm took place south of Keilir mountain in Krýsuvík-Trölladyngja volcano system. This earthquake activity at this location has been going on for a long time and is interesting. There are no sign that suggest an eruption is about to happen at this location, that is the situation at the writing of this article. Largest earthquake in this swarm had a magnitude of Mw3,2 at the depth of 6,1 km and second largest earthquake had a magnitude of Mw2,8 at the depth of 5,9 km.

Earthquake activity south of Keilir mountain shown by a green star on the map of Reykjanes peninusla
Earthquake activity on the Reykjanes peninsula. Copyright of this image belongs to Icelandic Met Office.

It seems that there is a chance there might be changes about to happen in the eruption in Fagradalsfjall mountain. I am going to write about that tomorrow at the earliest, but the article might be delayed of there is a lot going on while I gather information about what is happening.

Update on the eruption in Fagradalsfjall mountain on 26-April-2021

This is a short update on the eruption in Fagradalsfjall mountain in Krýsuvík-Trölladyngja volcano system.

There are no major changes reported during the last few days. But there have been minor changes in last few days. Here the latest changes that have been reported.

  • The oldest craters have stopped erupting. One of the crater has changed into a lava lake for now while the other is possible also a lava lake even if it is not visible. A lot of gas (smoke) comes from the more south crater in the crater row 1.
  • There are three to four craters that continue to erupt. There seems to have been a tiny increase in the eruption today (26-April-2021). This can be explained by how few craters are currently erupting.
  • No new craters have opened up in last few days. This is correct at the writing of this article.
  • Harmonic tremor seems to be decreasing. It is unclear why that is since the eruption is currently ongoing.

There are no other reports about the eruption. I am not sure when next update is going to happen but it is going to be soon as possible if anything changes in the eruption.

Update on the eruption in Fagradalsfjalli mountain on 23-April-2021

This is a short update on the eruption in Fagradalsfjall mountain on 23-April-2021 for the last week. Information is provided with best effort. The volcano that is erupting is Krýsuvík-Trölladyngja volcano system.

No major changes have been seen this week in the eruption. Here are the highlights.

  • According to last chemical analyse of the lava. The magma that is coming up is getting more primitive and from deeper part of the mantle. This increased the chance that the eruption is going to go on for months to years. Details can be found here on Twitter or here on Facebook.
  • Thickness of the lava is in most places just 16 meters. In Geldingadalur valley the thickness is at most 50 meters and getting thicker as the eruption continues and the valley slowly fills up. The lava doesn’t flow far and so it piles up next to the erupting craters.
  • At the writing of this article it seems that crater 1 is slowing down or shutting down. There seems to be some activity but it is low and mostly just gas is blowing out.
  • Craters continue to collapse as the eruption goes on. This happens at random and results in flood of lava happening.
  • The most active area now is the craters that opened on 7th of April and other time after that.

Other than this the eruption continues to be stable and the flow of lava is around 5m2/second according to last report I did read in the news.

Update on the eruption in Fagradalsfjall mountain on 19-April-2021

This is a short update on the eruption in Fagradalsfjall mountain that is part of Krýsuvík-Trölladyngja volcano system.

  • The crater that started erupting on 5-April-2021 has stopped erupting. I am unclear when it stopped erupting but that must have happened sometimes in last few days.
  • Smaller vents have opened up but none of them have been able to create any major eruption crater. Most of those have also stopped erupting and been buried by fresh lava from others craters when they stopped erupting.
  • Earthquake activity has been appearing along the dyke in last few hours. I am unclear what that means at the writing of this article.
  • New fissures with steam or hot air have been reported south of current eruption. I am unclear where they are located. There don’t appear to be any new fissures north of the crater that has stopped erupting at the writing of this article.
  • Crater 1 has now started to smoke a lot. While the second vent continues to erupt a smaller eruption. I am unclear on why one of the vent is smoking as it has been doing for the last few days.
  • The eruption is now 1 month old today. The eruption started on 19-March-2021.
  • Amount of lava being erupted has increased since the start of the eruption according to latest reports.

I don’t have any more reports today but that might change without warning. If that happens. I am going to write an article soon as I can.

Update on the eruption in Fagradalsfjall mountain on 16-April-2021

This is a short update on the eruption in Fagradalsfjall mountain in Krýsuvík-Trölladyngja volcano system.

There has not been any major change since last update. In this week four new craters started erupting and I write an article about that earlier in this week for more details.

  • It was reported today (16-April-2021) that lava has now started to flow outside of Geldingadalir and to the east. This lava is now flowing over a walking path that people used to get close to the eruption. Getting close to the eruption might not be possible any more. There is also a chance that lava is going to is going to flow to the south of the craters more than it already has done.
  • Swarm of small earthquakes took place north-east in Fagradalsfjall mountain early morning around 06:00 UTC. Largest of those earthquakes had a magnitude of Mw2,8.
  • There is no sign of the eruption ending.
  • There continues to be a high risk of new vents opening up and start erupting without warning.

There are no more reports this week outside of what I did write about what was happening earlier in the week. If anything major happens I am going to post an update soon as possible.

Stronger harmonic tremor reported in Fagradalsfjall mountain eruption

Yesterday (15-April-2021) it was reported (late) that harmonic tremor seems to have been increasing in the eruption since midnight. This normally happens if new craters have opened up. The weather is really bad at the eruption site currently so viewing the eruption with any web camera is difficult if not impossible. Rúv web cameras failed last night because of the weather that has been seeing wind peaks up to 41 meter/second with heavy rain. Current weather forecast is that the weather is not going to start improving until late today (Friday 16-April-2021). The increased tremor might be weather but weather is in general easy to filter out and doesn’t affect the lower bands (0.5 – 1Hz) that much as it does higher bands (2 – 4hz). What is happening won’t be clear until the weather starts getting better.

Information about the volcano Krýsuvík.

News and web cameras that might work

Órói auk­ist en aðstæður óljós­ar (mbl.is, Icelandic)
Gosið í Geld­inga­döl­um í beinni (web camera, mbl.is) – The fog cover sometimes breaks a little on this web camera.