The Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha’apai eruption, which produced the most powerful atmospheric explosion on record, also produced a record number of lightning strikes in a supercharged thunderstorm that lasted 11 hours and spread over 150 miles (240), a new study says. .

The volcano, located in the South Pacific Ocean, began to erupt in December 2021, but most explosive did not occur until January 15, 2022. Although the caldera of the volcano was 500 feet (150 meters) below sea level, the explosion exploded through the lake, sending plumes of ash 35 miles (58 km) high at an eruption rate. of 11 billion pounds (5 billion kilograms) per second—an order of magnitude greater than the eruption of Mount St. Helens in May 1980.

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