Watch: Underwater volcanic eruption creates new island off Japan

The unnamed volcano rapidly formed an island measuring 328 feet in diameter, reaching 66 feet above the sea

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Published: Thu 30 Nov 2023, 10:29 AM

An underwater volcano, which erupted half a mile off Iwo Jima's southern coast, has led to a newborn island. The unnamed volcano rapidly formed an island measuring 328 feet in diameter, reaching 66 feet above the sea earlier this month. Although the birth of the island is a notable event, experts caution it “may not last very long", depending on volcanic activity.

According to Yuji Usui, from the Japan Meteorological Agency, the new island near Iwo Jima is a significant development. Iwo Jima is situated about 40 miles north of the Fukutoku-Okanoba underwater volcano. The volcano had subsided following a major undersea eruption in 2021. However, the newly formed island off Iwo Jima has experienced some reduction due to its "crumbly" nature, susceptible to erosion by waves, Yuji Usui told AP News.

"We just have to see the development," he said. "But the island may not last very long."

Setsuya Nakada, a professor emeritus of volcanology at the University of Tokyo, conducted an aerial survey of the newly formed island, providing valuable insights into its features, reported The Japan Times. "In an earlier stage, a vertical jet of black colour, debris - which is a solidified magma - and water gushed upward," Nakada said. "Since November 3, the eruption started changing and the emission of volcanic ash continued explosively."

In the past, undersea volcanoes and seismic activities have often created new islands. Some instances include the 2013 eruption at Nishinoshima, the emergence of an island after a 7.7-magnitude earthquake in Pakistan the same year, and the 2015 island formation resulting from a month-long eruption off the coast of Tonga.

While similar islands appeared off Japan in 1904, 1914, and 1986, they vanished once volcanic activity ceased, according to a report in Forbes. Japan, with 111 active volcanoes, is no stranger to such geological events.

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