South Korean Satellite Captures '10 Megaton' Tonga Eruption

A South Korean satellite captured the eruption of Hunga Tonga Hunga Ha’apai volcano on Saturday, January 15, an explosion that scientists at NASA now estimate had the force of 10 megatons of TNT.

Communication with Tonga remains extremely limited after the eruption and ensuing tsunami due to damage to undersea cables. The Government of Tonga said on Tuesday that three deaths had been confirmed, along with an unspecified number of injuries.

This satellite imagery, recorded by South Korea’s GK2A satellite and processed by Simon Proud of the Natural Environment Research Council’s National Centre for Earth Observation, shows the eruption on January 15. “Mind blowing how quickly the eruption happened,” Proud wrote on Twitter. Credit: KMA / Simon Proud / NCEO via Storyful