NWS: Shockwave from Tonga Volcano Measured in Chicago Area

Tonga Volcano shockwave in Chicagoland (SOURCE: NWS Chicago)
Tonga Volcano shockwave in Chicagoland (SOURCE: NWS Chicago).

A large volcanic eruption occurred near the Tonga Islands at 6:27 PM CST on Friday, January 14, 2022. Tonga local time is 19 hours ahead of Chicago local time and 13 hours ahead of Universal Time. The USGS reported another earthquake M 5.8 with Volcanic Eruption occurred 68 km NNW of Nuku‘alofa, Tonga, on January 15, 2022 at 04:14:45 (UTC) / January 14, 2022 at 10:14 PM CST / January 15, 2022 at 5:14 PM Local Time in Tonga.

Underwater volcano Hunga-Tonga-Hunga-Ha’apai has been erupting for a month. YouTube Tips ⓘ

The NWS Chicago office reported a spike in pressure reading was noted at weather stations in the Chicago area between roughly 8:20 a.m. and 8:30 a.m. CST on Saturday January 15, 2022 as the eastward shockwave passed through Chicagoland after passage across the Pacific Ocean and across the western United Sates — a distance of about 7200 miles. The shockwave propagation apparently took about ten hours and six minutes to reach Chicagoland.

Also, a westward propagation of the shockwave passed over Asia, Africa, the Atlantic Ocean, and the eastern United States — a distance of about 18,000 miles. The westward propagation was detected as a spike in air pressure between roughly 12:00 a.m. and 1:00 a.m. CST Sunday, January 16, 2022.

Tonga is west of the International Date Line and is also west of Hawaii, which is east of the International Date Line. Generally, people traveling westward set their clocks 24 hours ahead when crossing the International Date Line and when entering Tonga from the east.

The International Date Line is based on the meridian of 180° longitude — approximately down the middle of the Pacific Ocean, and halfway around the world from the IERS Reference Meridian (the prime meridian at 0° longitude maintained by the International Earth Rotation and Reference Systems Service at the Coordinated Universal Time zone or UTC). In many locations, the International Date Line runs along the 180° meridian exactly. In other places, however, the International Date Line deviates east or west away from the meridian. These various deviations of the International Date Line generally accommodate the political and/or economic affiliations of the locations.

In perhaps the most significant deviation, the International Date Line runs east around Kiribati, almost reaching the 150°W meridian, where the southern Line Islands, Kiribati –located south of Hawaii — have the most advanced time on Earth at UTC+14:00 hours.

Two US-owned uninhabited atolls, Howland Island and Baker Island, located just north of the equator in the central Pacific Ocean, have the latest time on Earth (UTC−12:00 hours). In a contradiction to the 180° meridian “standard” for advancing clocks, the Line Islands of Kiribati (UTC+14:00 hours) are located east of Howland Island and Baker Island, but are located in a more advanced time zone. Therefore in this location, a ship traveling from Howland Island or Baker Island and passing Jarvis Island (UTC-11 hours) to the Line Islands would need clocks advanced around 24 hours (depending on the time zone) when traveling eastward. The time zone accommodation is a contradictory and unique condition compared to any other eastward passage across the International Date Line, which triggers setting clocks back about 24 hours depending on assigned time zones. The Kiribati Line Islands are 26 hours ahead of Howland Island and Baker Island.

Westward passage at this latitude from the Line Islands to Howland Island and Baker Island triggers setting clocks back about 24 hours (26 hours).

Example Times in Time Zones

Baker Island
10:45 PM Mon, Jan. 17, 2022 (GMT-12)

Howland Island
10:45 PM Mon, Jan. 17, 2022 (GMT-12)

Jarvis Island Coral Sea/South Pacific
11:45 PM Mon, Jan. 17, 2022 (HAST/-11)

Line Islands, Kiribati
12:46 AM Wed, Jan. 19, 2022 (GMT+14)

11:45 PM Tue, Jan. 18, 2022 (GMT+13)

Coordinated Universal Time (UTC)
10:45 AM Tue, Jan. 18, 2022

4:45 AM Tue, Jan. 18, 2022 (CST)

12:45 AM Tue, Jan. 18, 2022 (HST)


The second, larger volcano eruption that occurred on Saturday, January 15, 2022 at about 4:00 UTC was reported with a deafening sound and a rain of small black stones and black ashes, according to Kaniva Tonga News. TV reports also indicated there was a smell of sulfur in the area.

Initially, no injuries were reported in Tonga.

Tonga, officially named the Kingdom of Tonga, is a Polynesian country and also an archipelago consisting of 169 islands located northeast of New Zealand and east-northeast of Australia. Thirty-six of the islands are inhabited with a population of 100,209, according to the 2021 Census.

Tonga Volcano distance to Chicago (SOURCE: Map data ©2022 Google, INEGI, TMap Mobility)
Tonga Volcano distance to Chicago (SOURCE: Map data ©2022 Google, INEGI, TMap Mobility).


Hunga, Tonga



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20.546°S 175.390°W

Tonga Volvanic Eruption 2022-01-15 04:14:45 UTC (Map data ©2022 Google, INEGI).
Tonga Volcanic Eruption 2022-01-15 04:14:45 UTC (Map data ©2022 Google, INEGI).

An enormous underwater volcano called Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha’apai erupted in the South Pacific, creating tsunami waves that hit the country of Tonga. The eruption was heard as far away as New Zealand and could be seen from space (NBC News). YouTube Tips ⓘ

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