The underwater volcano erupted near the Tonga Islands on January 13, 2022, producing an explosion so violent that shock waves in the atmosphere literally hit more than half of the planet. What really happened and what can we expect next?
The latest events are a consequence of the collision between two oceanic plates, one (the Pacific) slipped under the other, the Australian plate.The volcano, called Hunga-Tonga, is located near two small uninhabited islands which rise about 100 meters above sea level.
The fact that it is underwater makes its eruptions particularly spectacular: when the magma mixes with the water, high columns of steam are generated.
An explosion like the one of Tonga also occurred in Sicily on Mount Etna many years ago. The eruption of Etna in 1669, considered the most devastating in historical times, began in spring and ended in mid July of the same year. It devastated and buried dozen of inhabited center reaching the sea in correspondence whit the western districts of Catania.
After a relative period of quiet, between February 25 and March 8 1669 a series of violent earthquakes shook the south-eastern flank of the volcano causing damage and collapses in the town of Nicolosi – the earthquakes announced the opening of a series of fissures from which lava began to flow.