The Weather Network – Underwater volcano eruption creates new island off Japanese coast

Sunday, August 22, 2021, 1:52 p.m. – The new island, resulting from an eruption of the submarine volcano Fukutoku-Okanoba, is located about 1,200 kilometers south of Tokyo, near Iwo Jima.

Made up of thousands of islands, Japan added one more to its makeup after the recent eruption of an underwater volcano.

The new land mass was detected by the Japanese Coast Guard two days after its formation on August 13. The island, the result of an eruption of the submarine volcano Fukutoku-Okanoba, is located about 1,200 kilometers south of Tokyo, near Iwo Jima.

The newly created island is quite small, only a kilometer in diameter, but authorities believe the eruption is still ongoing. The Japan Meteorological Agency has issued smoke and ash warnings for the region while keeping an eye out for volcanic activity.

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New Island of Japan / Japanese Coast Guard
(Japanese Coast Guard)

Following the blast, the Coast Guard reported seeing plumes of steam and gas spread over 15 kilometers in the sky. Additionally, he saw parts of pumice created by the eruption floating over a 60 kilometer wide area of ​​the ocean. The Coast Guard eventually discovered the crescent shape of the new island.

Authorities suspect that the entire Fukutoku-Okanoba caldera could possibly rise above the water’s surface, Forbes said.

However, the new discovery may not be permanent. The new islands verified in 1904, 1914 and 1986 all disappeared soon after. The most recent of the islands had a lifespan of about two months due to erosion from waves and currents.

If the island lasts, there could be geopolitical complications as it is located close to Japan’s southernmost islet of Ogasawara or the Bonin Island chain. Japan may then have to expand its borders, albeit by a relatively small amount (perhaps a few hundred meters). However, local media reported that this option is unlikely even if the island remains afloat.

New Island of Japan / Japanese Coast Guard
(Japanese Coast Guard)

Some islands have become established. For example, in 2013, a volcanic island named Niijima had grown so much that it merged with a nearby land mass, resulting in “Snoopy Island”. is still there, and as of 2020, was still expanding.

Scientists say the fate of the new island will be determined by its makeup. If it is found to be composed of ash and rock fragments, there is a good chance that it will not survive the oceanic elements.

But as the country’s meteorological agency suspects the volcanic eruption is still ongoing, it could then generate sufficient lava flow to establish a more durable land mass.

Thumbnail courtesy of the Japanese Coast Guard.

Follow Nathan Howes on Twitter.



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