by Staff Writers
Tokyo (AFP) Dec 26, 2013
A smouldering islet created by undersea volcanic eruptions off Japan’s Pacific coast has melded to a nearby island, the Japanese coastguard said Thursday.
Officials overflying the new landmass said it had merged at two points with Nishino-shima, an uninhabited volcanic island in the Ogasawara (Bonin) chain, some 1,000 kilometres (620 miles) south of Tokyo.
Two craters on the islet have been erupting “at an interval of 30 seconds to one minute,” spewing brown smoke about 100 metres (330 feet) high, a coastguard statement said.
Pale volcanic gas and ash-grey smoke are also oozing out.
The islet was first spotted on November 20, some 200 metres from Nishino-shima, which is estimated to be 10 million years old.
A volcanic islet created by volcanic eruption off Japan’s Pacific coast has attached itself to another island located nearby, according to the Japanese coastguard.
The new island had merged at two points with Nishino-shima, an uninhabited volcanic island in the Ogasawara (Bonin) chain, some 1,000 kilometres south of Tokyo.
Two craters on the islet have been erupting “at an interval of 30 seconds to one minute”, spewing brown smoke about 100 metres high, a coastguard statement said, according to the international press.
Volcanic island off coast of Japan TRIPLES IN SIZE after fresh undersea eruptions
A new volcanic island off the coast of Japan has tripled in size since it formed just over a month ago, experts have said.
The land mass, which has now been named Niijima, was first spotted on November 20 in the Ogasawara chain around 600 miles south of Tokyo.
Initially, scientists were unsure how long it would last because volcanic islets of that type tend to be reclaimed by the sea after a short time.
However, the island has actually expanded to 56,000 square metres (13.8 acres) – around three times its size – as a result of continuing eruptions from the volcano below.
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Violent birth: This image shows the newly formed Niijima island (right) next to the uninhabited Nishino Shima land mass, a day after it first emerged from the sea off the coast of Japan around 600 miles south of Tokyo
Rapid expansion: This picture taken on December 20 shows how Niijima has grown to three times its size in the last month thanks to fresh volcanic eruptions below the surface of the Pacific Ocean
According to National Geographic, the Japan Meteorological Agency says it now rises to around 80ft above sea level and Japanese scientists believe it is large enough to last for several years, perhaps for good.
A NASA satellite image taken on December 8 shows Niijima next to its closest island, the uninhabited Nishino Shima which lies around 500m away.
The mass of rock was forced from the sea following an eruption on November 20 in a region dubbed Ring of Fire.
Growing presence: This picture was taken on December 6, just over two weeks after the island formed
In this NASA satellite image from December 8, Niijima can be clearly seen next to the larger Nishino Shima
Smoke billows from a new islet off the coast of Nishino Shima, a small, uninhabited island in the Ogasawara chain off the coats of Tokyo. At that point, it was around 600ft in diameter
THE NEW ISLAND IN PAKISTAN
In September a similar new island appeared off the coast of Pakistan.
It was forced to the surface following an earthquake and was made up a mound of mud and rock 70ft high and 295ft wide/
The phenomenon on the coastline near the port of Gwadar caused astonishment when it emerged from the Arabian Sea but, like the new islet in Japan, experts said it was unlikely to last long.
Although the area regularly experiences earthquakes and eruptions, they are rarely as powerful as the latest one.
In fact, the forming of the new island is the first time the phenomenon has happened in almost 30 years.
Video footage showed smoke billowing from part of the ocean around the Ogasawara island chain and the Japanese coastguard later confirmed it was coming from the new islet.
This chain is made up of over 30 subtropical and tropical islands.
The islet is made up of volcanic lava and rocks forced from the ocean floor.
Volcanologists claim the temperature of the rocks could have been as high as 1,000C.