HomeSpace NewsHuge Tonga volcanic eruption spawned record-breaking winds at the edge of space

Huge Tonga volcanic eruption spawned record-breaking winds at the edge of space

The powerful Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha‘apai volcanic eruption in January 2022 triggered stronger-than-hurricane winds in the highest layer of Earth’s atmosphere, challenging scientists’ understanding of the influence our planet has on outer space.

The eruption, which sent devastating tsunamis across the Pacific Ocean on Jan. 15, not only blasted hundreds of millions of tons of volcanic ash into the stratosphere but also generated shockwaves that reached as high as the planet’s ionosphere, the outermost layer of the atmosphere at altitudes of up to 400 miles (650 kilometers). 

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