As previously reported by the Inquisitr, the Tavurvur Volcano in Papua, New Guinea erupted on August 29th. The eruption scattered lava hundreds of feet into the air as smoke and ash billowed into the sky, according to the Washington Post.
The Tavurvur Volcano sits on the Gazelle Peninsula in Papua New Guinea, and this isn’t the first time in recorded history that the volcano has exploded. In 1994, the Tavurvur Volcano along with another volcano, the aptly named Vulcan, exploded and destroyed much of the Rabaul township that lies nearby. In 1937, the Tavurvur Volcano blew its top simultaneously with Mt. Vulcan and killed over 500 people.
This time, a most impressive shockwave was caught on video when Australian couple Philip and Linda McNamara were sailing off the coast of Papua New Guinea at the time of the eruption. They saw the smoke and the ash as it blew into the sky, but what was most spectacular about the eruption was the shockwave.
Give it a watch. As Philip says in the video, “Holy… ssssmokin’ Toledoes.”
As you saw in the video, though you first see the Tavurvur Volcano erupt and the shockwave punch into the sky, Philip and Linda’s boat was far enough away that you don’t hear or feel (evidenced by the shaking of the boat) the shockwave until almost 12 seconds later.
According to scientists, while shockwaves are rarely caught on film, they’re actually quite common. Jim Quick, a vulcanologist and associate vice president for research and dean of grad studies at Southern Methodist University, explains how the shockwaves happen.
“You have volcanic gases that are held by the magma as it rises towards the surface. Eventually you get to the point where the gases separate from the magma, like popping the top from a soda bottle.”
The gases expand extremely quickly and separate from the magma, causing an explosive burst similar to a tremendous dynamite explosion, according to Fox News. The resulting shockwaves bounce off of the floor and walls of the crater, up into the air and shake the surrounding area.
The BBC reports that Papua New Guinea lies in what scientists call The Ring of Fire, a region that is home to a number of active volcanoes.
Some Qantas flight from Sydney to Tokyo had to be rerouted as a result of Tavurvur’s gigantic ash cloud which stretched out for miles. Australian officials were initially concerned that ash would ride wind currents southwest to the country, but the wind finally turned, sending ash from the Tavurvur Volcano southeast instead.