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Localized geomagnetic disturbance due to ionospheric response to the Hunga Tonga eruption on January 15, 2022
  • Gabriel Brando Soares,
  • Yosuke Yamazaki,
  • Jürgen Matzka
Gabriel Brando Soares
Observatório Nacional
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Yosuke Yamazaki
GFZ German Research Centre for Geosciences

Corresponding Author:[email protected]

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Jürgen Matzka
GFZ German Research Centre for Geosciences
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The Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha’apai volcano in the Pacific Ocean erupted on January 15, 2022. The energy released by this submarine eruption caused waves propagating through the lithosphere, ocean and atmosphere. Less than 10 minutes after the eruption, pulsation-like geomagnetic disturbances started at the geomagnetic observatory Apia, approximately 835 km from Hunga Tonga, and lasted for about 2 hours. These disturbances were most prominent in the Y (east) component, with an oscillation amplitude of ~3 nT and dominant periods of 276, 254 and 219 s. Comparable geomagnetic disturbances are absent at neighboring as well as high-latitude geomagnetic observatories, indicating that the disturbances are localized and not related to solar wind energy input. Tide gauge data show that tsunami waves arrived at Apia more than one hour after the eruption. This leaves ionospheric currents as the likely cause of the geomagnetic disturbances.