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Tuesday, May 21, 2024
Tuesday May 21, 2024
Tuesday May 21, 2024

Newly emerged volcanic island takes root after underwater eruption

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Japan witnesses the birth of a new island, unleashed by submarine volcanic fury

In a spectacular display of nature’s might, a recently formed volcanic island off the coast of Japan is unfurling its presence, marking its birth after an underwater explosion shook the Pacific waters last month.

Officials confirmed the island’s genesis on November 1, a mere one kilometer off the coast of Iō-tō island, formerly known as Iwo Jima, in the western Pacific, approximately 1,220 km south-southeast of Tokyo. The discovery was made by the Maritime Self-Defence Force’s air base stationed on Iō-tō island, which reported witnessing both the explosion and the emergence of the new islet.

Preceding the underwater eruption, the Japan Meteorological Agency had been detecting volcanic tremors on Iō-tō island since October 21, coupled with a noticeable rise in the island’s elevation. This seismic activity culminated in a volcanic eruption, giving rise to the newly formed islet near the crater.

A JMA official speculates, “It is possible that a large amount of rocks and stones ejected from the crater on the seafloor accumulated and created the islet.”

Since its initial appearance and documentation from space in late October, the island, composed of volcanic ash and rock, has exhibited continuous growth. Currently measuring 8.6 kilometers in the northeast-southwest direction and 5.6 kilometers in the northwest-southeast direction, the island’s expansion is monitored by the University of Tokyo.

In a translated press release, the university stated, “It is estimated that eruptions are occurring in at least two locations. The crater where the phreatomagmatic explosion occurs, and the vent where the rock masses that make up the island are ejected.”

This resurgence of volcanic activity on Iwo Jima echoes the 2022 eruption, suggesting a resumption of magma activity in the region.

While the newfound island adds to the list of Japan’s geological wonders, the country’s island count continues to defy expectations. Recent advancements in mapping technology by the Geospatial Information Authority revealed that Japan, previously thought to have around 6,000 islands, actually boasts over 14,000—an awe-inspiring testament to the dynamic and ever-evolving nature of the Earth.

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