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Rapid characterization of large volcanic eruptions: measuring the impulse of the Hunga Tonga explosion from teleseismic waves
  • Piero Poli,
  • Nikolai M. Shapiro
Piero Poli
Université Grenoble-Alpes, Isterre Laboratory, CNRS

Corresponding Author:pieropoli85@gmail.com

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Nikolai M. Shapiro
Institut de Sciences de la Terre, Universit ́e Grenoble Alpes, CNRS
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Most of the largest volcanic activity in the world occurs in remote places as deep oceans or poorly monitored oceanic islands. Thus, our capacity of monitoring volcanoes is limited to remote sensing and global geophysical observations. However, the rapid estimation of volcanic eruption parameters is needed for scientific understanding of the eruptive process and rapid hazard estimation. We present a method to rapidly identify large volcanic explosions, based on analysis of seismic data. With this methodology, we promptly detect the January 15, 2022 Hunga Tonga eruption. We then analyze the seismic waves generate by the volcanic explosion and estimate important first-order parameters of the eruption. We further relate the parameters with the volcanic explosivity index (VEI). Our estimate of VEI~6, indicate how the Hunga Tonga eruption is among the largest volcanic activity ever recorded with modern geophysical instrumentation, and can provide new insights about the physics of large volcanoes.