The eruption of an underwater volcano off the coast of a Japanese island has led to the creation of a new island.
Researchers have been watching the underwater volcano for decades. Located in the Ogasawara Island chain in the Pacific Ocean, the volcano has not erupted for 100 years. But three weeks ago, it began to explode, creating a plume so massive that NASA could see it from outer space.
The magma released from the explosion formed a small island that is about 300 feet wide. It’s just a half a mile off the coast of Iwo Jima, an island Japan calls Ioto.
However, analysts from the Japan Meteorological Agency say the island might not last for long. This is because the foundation is too “crumbly” since it is made of volcanic ash and dust.
“We just have to see the development,” Yuji Usui who is currently studying the island’s deposits as part of the Japan Meteorological Agency, told the Associated Press. “But the island may not last very long.”
Footage of the volcano’s explosion was shared by a Japanese media company on YouTube. You can watch the impressive spectacle below:
Explosions from underwater volcanos have led to the creation of major islands. Called archipelagos or oceanic islands, these land masses include the Hawaiian Islands. The oldest of these, Kure Atoll, is believed to have formed 30 million years ago.
Experts are continuing to study the newly formed volcanic island in the Ogasawara archipelago. While it may disappear, it may also continue to grow. The 2013 explosion of the Nishinoshima volcano in Japan led to the creation of a volcanic island that grew in size for a decade. However, experts say this volcanic land growth is expected.
“The little island has grown considerably during the present eruption — exciting to be sure, but in the arc of geologic time, this is typical,” Smithsonian geologist Elizabeth Cottrell said in a 2020 Smithsonian article about the growth of the Nishinoshima volcano. “It’s just a reminder that every new continent begins with a bang like the one we are seeing now at Nishinoshima.”
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