Multi-technology analysis of the January 2022 Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha’apai explosive volcanic eruption from the perspective of CTBT monitoring

Christoph Pilger
Lars Ceranna, Stefanie Donner, Peter Gaebler, Patrick Hupe, Thomas Plenefisch, J. Ole Ross, Michaela Schwardt, and Andreas Steinberg
BGR, Federal Institute for Geosciences and Natural Resources, Hannover, Germany


On 15 January 2022, the huge eruption of the Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha’apai volcano occurred in the South Pacific Ocean. It was globally observed as exceptionally strong source of seismo-acoustic waveform phenomena.


Seismic waves were the first signals of the event registered at regional and global distances. A teleseismic moment tensor and ring source inversion analysis of body and surface waves shows a mostly explosive but complex character of the event.


Long-period atmospheric pressure waves were measured with numerous barometers all around the world. Consequently, all infrasound stations of the International Monitoring System (IMS) for the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) detected signals from this event circumnavigating the globe several times.


This presentation provides insights into cross-technology analyses of global IMS data capturing this powerful explosive eruption. Extensive seismic and infrasonic observations complemented by detections at hydroacoustic stations and atmospheric transport simulations for hypothetical releases of radionuclides assess the CTBT monitoring capability.