Japan seems to have subtracted one island from its total count, as the newly formed island of Niijima has “eaten” its older neighboring.
The island, dubbed Niijima, or “new island,” in the Ogaswara island chain 1,000 kilometers south of Tokyo, has continued to grow in size since it broke through the ocean’s surface in November last year.
Japanese scientists had predicted that Niijima would consume the uninhabited Nishinoshima Island, as submarine eruptions showed no signs of abating, spewing lava and sending steam and a pillar of ash cloud into the air.
The latest satellite images from NASA show that Japan’s newest landmass measures about 3,280 feet (1,000 meters) across and rises more than 196 feet (60 meters) above sea level.
Scientists said the island could be long-lived, considering its size. “A lot of it depends on how fast it erodes,” Ken Rubin, a University of Hawaii at Manoa professor and expert in deep submarine volcanism told CNN. “Until it shuts off, it’s too soon to tell.”
The conjoined island marks the top of a giant submarine volcano that remained dormant since 1974.
Japan sits on the Pacific “Ring of Fire,” which stretches from the coast of Chile north to Alaska and Sibera and then south to New Zealand.
By Maesie Bertumen