A new island formed by a submarine volcano was spotted off the coast of Japan this weekend.
Japan Meteorological Agency released a statement yesterday saying that the submarine volcano Fukutoku-Okanoba had continued erupting with an explosion spotted last week, on 13 August. Pumice stones and other material were flowing up to 60km in the northwest direction while volcanic bombs and horizontal eruptions were affecting the water surrounding the volcano. Active eruption is expected to continue.
“Regarding this, the Japan Coast Guard has issued a navigation warning to call attention to nearby vessels,” read a translation of the statement. The Japan Coast Guard observed the volcano had created a new C-shaped island with a 1km diameter on Sunday from the air.
Submarine volcanos are underwater versions of their terrestrial brethren. During eruption, new crust material can actively form from pillows of lava, rising above sea level to become volcanic islands. While a new island isn’t formed every day, it is not exactly an unknown phenomenon activity, particularly near Japan and Iceland.
In Japan, new islands have been formed this way in 1904, 1914, and 1986, all of which are now submerged again thanks to erosion.
Another example of a recently formed volcanic island is Iceland’s Surtsey Island, whose human population is restricted only to scientists. The volcanic island reached sea level in 1963 and continued growing through eruption until 1967. It was once 2.7km2, but in 2012, was surveyed at 1.3km2.
The new land is likely to be considered part of Japan from here on out as it is relatively close to Iwo Jima. Speculation is that its existence won’t affect trade or territorial matters. ®