Understanding the Recent Hunga-Tonga Eruption Dynamics Requires Multi-disciplinary Efforts in Particular, Seismology and Volcanology

Dr. David Yuen wearing a baseball cap and glasses

Dr. David Yuen
Adjunct Senior Research Scientist – Columbia University
Applied Physics and Applied Mathematics
Host: Dr. Dave Kimbrough

Wednesday, September 28, 2022
1 pm – CSL 422 or via zoom

Our multidisciplinary efforts ( Yuen et al, ERA 2022) show the great importance of being able to form rapidly a multidisciplinary team in unraveling the intricate mechanism of the Hunga-Tonga event on January 15, 2022. Why? This is due to unusual location of humongous volcano lying a couple of kilometers under the sea. From physical chemistry we know the nature of the properties of water under these extreme conditions of water, carbon dioxide, high temperature, and high pressure of tens of thousands of atmospheric pressures would allow for a cataclysmic explosion generating thermal energy equivalent to a hefty H-bomb of between 5 to 10 Megatons! We show that both detailed analysis of seismic waves and detailed analysis of satellite observation of the volcanic gaseous cloud are needed to fully appreciate the hot temperatures inside the multi-phase gaseous flow, for which only volcanologist can provide clues.

 Yuen et al ( 2022) Under the surface:
Pressure induced Planetary-scale waves volcanic lightning and gaseous clouds caused by the submarine eruption of Hunga-Tonga-Ha’apai volcano, Earthquake Research Advances https://dpi.org/10.1016/j.eqrea.2022.100134