Record-breaking Tonga volcano generates fastest atmospheric waves ever seen

The massive eruption of the Tonga submarine volcano in the Pacific Ocean earlier this year generated a blast so powerful it sent massive pressure waves rippling through the atmosphere and around the world. These waves are the fastest ever observed inside Earth’s atmospherereaching speeds of 720 miles (1,158 kilometers) per hour, a new study finds.

“This was a really huge explosion and really unique in terms of what science has seen so far,” lead study author Corwin Wright, a Royal Society University Research Fellow based at the University’s Center for Space, Atmospheric and Ocean Sciences of Bath in the United Kingdom, said in a statement (opens in new tab). Atmospheric waves caused by volcano (opens in new tab) is traveling at an unprecedented speed, “very close to the theoretical limit,” he said.

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