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The most powerful volcanic eruption in recorded history was the 1815 eruption of Mount Tambora, an explosion equivalent to 33 billion tons of TNT.

Is there any way a cryovolcanic eruption could be as large as this? I couldn't find a source on how powerful a typical eruption is, but based on the low temperatures, I can guess that they're small. However, in a hypothetical moon where there is much stronger tidal friction than we see in the Solar System, I think the eruptions can become much larger.

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  • $\begingroup$ Hello, and welcome to Stack Exchange. Very interesting question! I'm no pro, but I'm betting the answer depends on the materials' strength, and on the energies/pressures involved, both of which I believe would be limited in cryovolcanoes. $\endgroup$ – Daniel Griscom May 14 '18 at 1:31
  • $\begingroup$ Do you mean an eruption of a volcano on earth, under ice, or an eruption of all kinds of liquids and ices such as found in moons in the outer solar system? $\endgroup$ – Gimelist May 14 '18 at 22:46
  • $\begingroup$ The latter one. $\endgroup$ – StarlightDown May 14 '18 at 23:49
  • $\begingroup$ As a layman, I would think that the "power" of a volcano would depend on how much pressure could build up before the "break-thru" eruption (kind of like a static friction value). My intuition is that water molecules could more easily escape and thus eruptions would be more like large "Old Faithfuls" than "Kilaueas". $\endgroup$ – Jack R. Woods May 20 '18 at 17:31

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