Tonga volcano eruption was fueled by 2 merging chambers that are still brimming with magma

Aerial view of the Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha’apai volcano eruption in 2022. (Image credit: Maxar/Contributor via Getty Images)

Almost two years after a humongous eruption rocked Tonga’s Hunga volcano in the southwest Pacific Ocean, scientists have finally mapped the huge magma plumbing system that gave birth to the record-breaking blast.

On Jan. 15, 2022, a volcano beneath the island of Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha’apai exploded with such force it triggered the most intense lightning storm ever recorded and the first documented mega tsunami since antiquity. The eruption was felt worldwide, but the volcano’s underwater setting posed a challenge for scientists trying to understand how such a violent blast occurred.


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