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Tonga eruption could offer clues on planet formation

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The life cycle of a volcano off Tonga and the blast generated from its eruption could offer valuable clues about the formation of other planets

The massive volcanic blast which rocked Tonga last week sent out shockwaves close to the speed of sound and tsunami waves across the Pacific Ocean.

And now one NASA expert says it could also provide valuable clues about the formation of other planets.

“I got a call and they said ‘It blew, you don’t have an island anymore.'”

NASA’s chief scientist, James Garvin

Now they’re examining what’s left of the islands, Hunga Tonga and Hunga Ha’apai.

“We took that volume of mass ejected and the energetics to explosively fragment it, and calculated using fairly classical techniques, how much energy that would take, to break a rock that you could build a city building on, to break it up into little bits and throw it as ash and steam up to hundreds of thousands of feet…”

“And so we did that calculation and we got numbers that range from something equivalent to the blast of a small asteroid that would hit the earth – about 10 metric, megatons of TNT or equivalent – to things even bigger.”

NASA’s chief scientist, James Garvin

The Hunga-Tonga-Hunga-Ha’apai volcano sits on the seismically active Pacific Ring of Fire.

The eruption on January 15 was so powerful that it could be heard over a thousand miles away, and huge clouds of ash could be seen from space.

Studying the impact of these volcanoes on Earth tells experts what they may have done to other planets.

“It’s a fossil record of landscapes preserved in time on earth, better preserved on planets like Mars and the moon and Venus. So we use earth as our training ground to project what we know from places like this to other planets that might have oceans, that might have volcanos, that erupt under water.”

NASA’s chief scientist, James Garvin

Many in Tonga are still reeling from the physical and psychological trauma of last week’s blast, as relief aid continues to pour in.

Credit: Gloria Tso 

World

Over 20 young people mysteriously die at nightclub

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Authorities in South Africa are investigating the deaths of 22 people, who were mysteriously found in a nightclub

Victims were found spread across the tables and floors in a coastal town.

They have been taken for testing, as authorities scramble to find a cause of death.

South Africa’s President is sending his “deepest condolences” to families of the victims, most of whom are teenagers.

The tragedy has taken place during Youth Month, where South Africa pushes for more opportunities to help young people from poor socio-economic backgrounds.

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World

Deadly stadium collapse at bullfighting event in Columbia

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At least four people have died, and 500 injured at a bullfighting stadium in Columbia

Videos show a stand collapsing during the event, as emergency workers race to help.

Local media reports that hospitals have begun helping those who were injured.

The nation’s newly-elected President is calling for an end to bullfighting, tweeting that tragedies like this have already happened in the past.

He is urging local authorities to not allow more shows that involve the death of people or animals.

Investigations continue into the cause of the collapse.

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Climate Change

Major disruption in Sydney as climate protesters take to the streets

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There’s been major disruption across Sydney, as climate protesters take to the streets and block CBD roads

NSW Police officers chased dozens of climate protesters who were seen throwing milk crates, and barricades.

One demonstrator blocked the entry to one of the busiest thoroughfares in the city.

Members from Blockade Australia kicked off the rally by attempting to stop flowing traffic by dragging rubbish bins, construction barriers and building material into the middle of the road.

The Sydney Harbour Tunnel has now reopened but the organisation says it will hold more protests this week.

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