Volcanic eruption creates new Japanese island

News & Views - November 22nd, 2013

There are more than 6,000 islands in Japan, and we can now add one more to that tally.

A new island has risen off the coast of Nishinoshima, an uninhabited island to the far south of Tokyo, after a volcanic eruption, the Japanese coastguard said.

The submarine eruption sent violent jets of steam and ash, a reaction when sea-water interacts with lava, and resulted in the formation of the island of about 200 meter (660 feet) in diameter, according to officials.

The Japanese navy first spotted the eruption Wednesday morning in what appeared to be very shallow waters. The navy documented surtseyan activity (so named for the volcanic island of Surtsey, Iceland, which was formed in the 1960s) at the eruption site.

The coastguard issued an advisory warning of heavy black smoke from the eruption. A small steam and ash plume rising to about 2000 ft (600 m) was reported by VAAC Tokyo.

Japan sits on the seismically active Pacific “Ring of Fire”. Nishinoshima and about 30 other small islands are part of the volcanic islands in Ogasawara, also known as the Bonin Islands.

The last known eruption of the volcano occurred in 1972, about 40 years ago. Nishinoshima was enlarged in 1974 after fresh eruptions created a new section of the island.

The Japan Coast Guard released video of the island being born, and you can see two clips of footage below:

By Maesie Bertumen

Image: Video capture from Euronews’s YouTube channel