Tonga eruption was highest-recorded volcanic plume

Tonga eruption was highest-recorded volcanic plume


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When the Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha’apai volcano erupted underwater in January, it created a plume of ash and water that broke through the third layer of Earth’s atmosphere.

It was the highest-recorded volcanic plume and reached the mesosphere, where meteors and meteorites usually break apart and burn up in our atmosphere.

The mesosphere, about 31 to 50 miles (50 to 80 kilometers) above Earth’s surface, is above the troposphere and stratosphere and beneath two other layers. (The stratosphere and mesosphere are dry atmospheric layers.)

The volcanic plume reached an altitude of 35.4 miles (57 kilometers) at its highest. It exceeded previous record holders such as the 1991 Mount Pinatubo eruption in the Philippines…