The underwater volcanic eruption near Tonga was larger than the biggest nuclear detonation ever conducted, an atomic test monitoring group said.

The news: The Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization in Vienna, Austria — which monitors atomic tests — said the shockwave from the underwater blast could be detected all the way in Antarctica, a sign that it’s one of the biggest explosions in history, according to NPR.

  • Overall, 53 detectors around Earth heard the boom from the eruption.
  • “Every single station picked it up,” Ronan Le Bras, a geophysicist with the organization, told NPR. “It’s the biggest thing that we’ve ever seen.”
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What happened to Tonga after the massive volcano
An undersea volcano erupted near Tonga, causing a tsunami advisory for the U.S. West Coast

Flashback: Early reports the boom was heard in Alaska, per The Associated Press.

  • Residents in Hawaii, Alaska, California, Oregon, and Washington were warned to avoid the coasts, too, due to potential tsunami waves.
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What happened: The underwater volcano’s eruption sent tsunami waves across the Pacific and onto the Tongan islands, devastating communities, as I reported for the Deseret News.

  • In all, “trees and homes completely blanketed by volcanic debris,” CNN reports.
  • “Some buildings appear to have collapsed and aid workers are now concerned about water contamination and food security in the district,” according to CNN.
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