On January 15, 2022, the Hunga Tonga volcano in the Pacific Ocean erupted, spewing ash and water vapor at a staggering altitude of 60 kilometers into the atmosphere. This event also triggered a massive tsunami measuring 15 meters in height, making it one of the most remarkable natural events ever recorded.
Residents living near the volcano still recall the thunderous roar they heard at the time, which could be heard as far away as Alaska, more than 6,000 kilometers away. This was considered the loudest noise recorded on Earth since the eruption of Krakatoa in May 1883.
A sound artist recently created a sonification of the Hunga Tonga eruption using data collected by the Aeolus satellite mission, which is dedicated to studying wind profiles on a planetary scale.
The artist took an audio sample of one of the shockwaves, time-stretched it to create a ghostly tone, and assigned it harmonic values transcribed from 90 Aeolus readings taken over a 15-minute period. The final product is unexpected and it remains to be seen if it will provide valuable insights for researchers studying volcanic eruptions.