Category: Geologic Event


Retirement community sinkhole reopens four days after it was filled in and has now doubled in size to 65 feet wide

  • The sinkhole appeared between two houses on Saturday in Villages, Florida
  • Crews spent much of Saturday and Sunday filling in the hole to stabilize it
  • But on Wednesday the hole reopened and has now grown from 25 feet wide to 65 feet wide 
  • No one has been evacuated from the retirement community yet

By Associated Press and Ashley Collman

A sinkhole between two houses in a sprawling Florida retirement community that was plugged over the weekend appears to be opening again.

Authorities said Wednesday that the hole has expanded from 25 feet wide and 50 feet deep to 60 feet wide and 70 feet deep. Safety crews are on scene.

Rich Corr lives next door to the house which had been at the center of the sinkhole drama. He told The Villages Daily Sun that he and his wife are packing their bags.

 

Out of control: A sinkhole that was filled over the weekend in the Villages, Florida reopened Wednesday and has grown from 25 feet wide to 65 feet wide. Pictured above on Wednesday

Out of control: A sinkhole that was filled over the weekend in the Villages, Florida reopened Wednesday and has grown from 25 feet wide to 65 feet wide. Pictured above on Wednesday

 

In this photo taken April 19, 2014, a sinkhole is seen between two homes, The Villages Daily Sun reports the homes were vacant when the sinkhole, which was already under repair, expanded Saturday

In this photo taken April 19, 2014, a sinkhole is seen between two homes, The Villages Daily Sun reports the homes were vacant when the sinkhole, which was already under repair, expanded Saturday

Over the weekend, repair crews filled the sinkhole after neighbors noticed it was growing and alerted authorities. At that time, a Tampa firm had been working on the sinkhole for about three weeks.

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More sinkholes open up in Britain

Several cars that collapsed into a sinkhole in Bowling Green, Kentucky, in February 2014. Photo / National Corvette Museum/AP

Several cars that collapsed into a sinkhole in Bowling Green, Kentucky, in February 2014. Photo / National Corvette Museum/AP

A spate of sinkholes have opened up across the country as floodwater dissolves the underlying rock, while a “second wave” is likely to appear in the coming weeks as the rain stops and the ground begins to dry, the British Geological Survey warned yesterday.

The number of sinkholes reported has soared to six so far this month – many times more than the one to two that is typical across the whole of a normal year, experts said.

These have generally occurred as soluble rocks such as chalk, limestone and gypsum have been eroded by a sudden infusion of water from the heavy rainstorms which has made existing underground cavities bigger and causing the ground above it to collapse.

Read more:Sinkholes: What are they, how do they form and why are we seeing so many?

A house collapsed in Ripon this week when a sinkhole appeared following the erosion of the underlying gypsum.

This followed a particularly large 20ft deep sinkhole in a Hemel Hempstead garden on Saturday which forced the evacuation of about 20 homes.

“There has been a significant increase in sinkholes over the past few weeks and it’s reasonable to suggest that this is related to the increase in rainfall,” said Dr Vanessa Bank, of the British Geological Survey.

“How long this goes on for very much depends on the weather. But there is likely to be more rainfall and my personal opinion is that we are talking about weeks,” she added.

 

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GlobalResearchReport.com

On Saturday, a huge sinkhole opened up at the side of a house in Hemel Hempstead, Hertfordshire. Swallowing up half of the front lawn, it was 35ft wide and 20ft deep.

Last week, a hole as deep as a double-decker bus is high suddenly opened up in the back-garden of a house in South-East London, almost swallowing a child’s trampoline as the ground collapsed without warning.

Had the poor owner’s daughter been rushing out to play on the trampoline, she could have very easily have been seriously injured or even killed.

 25' Sinkhole Opens Up On Yorkshire Street

Dangerous: A 50ft-deep hole appeared in the central reservation on a section of the M2 in north Kent last week

Two weeks ago, there was a similarly narrow escape for a family living in High Wycombe, when, overnight, a deep hole appeared  without warning in the driveway just next to the house.

This time the adult daughter’s car did end up buried at the bottom of the hole, thankfully, while there was no one in it.

And in Kent last week, motorists hoping to use the M2 were left fuming by the motorway’s temporary closure, after a substantial hole — 15ft deep — suddenly appeared in the central reservation. Again, no one was hurt but had the hole opened up just a few yards away, it is obvious what a different story it could so easily have been.

All of these holes are what the public call sinkholes and now, after weeks of heavy rain, they seem to be appearing with ever greater regularity. Hard statistics are difficult to find — not least because sinkholes that appear on farmland often go unreported — but having studied them for 35 years, I’d estimate that sinkholes are currently appearing at four-to-five times their normal rate.

 
Gone: A Volkswagen Lupo was swallowed up by this sink hole in High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire

Gone: A Volkswagen Lupo was swallowed up by this sink hole in High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire

Brand new: Zoe Smith, 19, was given a replacement after the car was engulfed by the hole which developed outside her home

Brand new: Zoe Smith, 19, was given a replacement after the car was engulfed by the hole which developed outside her home

 

With more heavy rain forecast, I’d be surprised if we’ve seen the last sudden sinkhole of this winter.

Even when the rain does stop and warmer weather returns, for reasons that I’ll come to, there could be a second spate of them.

Strictly speaking — and as I work for the British Geological Survey I do need to be strict about these things — not all the big holes that have been appearing are sinkholes. Technically, a sinkhole is a hole that opens up when the surface layers collapse into a naturally made cavity. When the surface layers collapse into a cavity made by man  — and at least two of the recent holes are in areas where mining has been carried out in the past — then it should be called a dene or crown hole.

But given that both types are caused by a collapse into an underground cavity and the end result — a large, potentially dangerous hole in the ground at the surface — is the same, for the sake of simplicity, let us call them all sinkholes.

Certainly, anyone suffering the tragedy of having their house fall into one won’t be worrying about the difference. Fatalities caused by sinkholes in this country are thankfully very rare, but a homeowner in Florida did die in exactly those circumstances only last year.

Risk: Gretel Davidson feared she would have to pay around £10,000 after a sinkhole twice the height of a double-decker bus appeared in her garden in Banehurst, South-East London

Risk: Gretel Davidson feared she would have to pay around £10,000 after a sinkhole twice the height of a double-decker bus appeared in her garden in Banehurst, South-East London

The sheer size of sinkholes and their sudden appearance without warning does make them extremely hazardous. This explains why in  the superstitious distant past,  their appearance was often linked to misfortune.

Some saw them as a direct route to Hell itself; one near Darlington that collapsed in the 12th century  is called Hell Kettle and the  rising groundwater in it steams in the winter.

Of course, it’s not the Devil but all the heavy rain that lies behind the sudden spate of sinkholes. Rainwater dissolves limestone easily because it gets acidified from  carbon dioxide in the air and by  passing through rotting vegetation or certain types of rock.

The water dissolves rocks such  as chalk, limestone and gypsum, making existing natural underground cavities bigger. It also scours fine material out of existing cavities. In addition, it makes the surface layers of soil composed of such things as clay or gravel heavier as they become waterlogged.

Bit by bit, the cavity becomes a little bigger, the covering layers a little heavier until . . . snap . . . those covering layers no longer have the mechanical strength to span the cavity and suddenly they collapse into it, taking anything unfortunate to have been standing on the surface down with them.

Concern: A 35ft wide hole appeared underneath a home in Hemel Hempstead last week, prompting the surrounding properties to be evacuated

Concern: A 35ft wide hole appeared underneath a home in Hemel Hempstead last week, prompting the surrounding properties to be evacuated

It’s no accident that sinkholes often seem to appear next to a fairly substantial piece of civil engineering, such as a house or road, rather than underneath the piece of civil engineering itself.

As long as we put roofs on houses and impermeable cambers on our roads, rainwater will be thrown off the things being protected. It’s often where that rainwater ends up — by the side of the road, by side  of the house — that becomes  vulnerable to sinkholes.

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The burial ground that swallowed its graves: 50 coffin-shaped sinkholes appear in graveyard… in Gravesend

  • Dozens of coffin-shaped depressions have appeared in the ground
  • Authorities are trying to fill the sinkholes in Gravesend cemetery, Kent
  • Weeks of rain blamed for compacting loose soil on top of the graves
  • Visitors have been warned about ‘carpet’ of grass concealing holes
  • Around 50 graves affected by the subsidence over the past days

By Tom Gardner

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Dozens of coffin-shaped pits have opened up across a cemetery after weeks of rain caused the earth to give way over burial grounds.

The alarming sinkhole phenomenon, which have exposed around 50 unmarked graves, raised fears deep cavities might be concealed just below the grass.

Visitors are being warned to watch their step after the giant holes appeared at Gravesend Cemetery in Kent.

Collapse: Coffin-shaped holes have been opening up in the cemetery in Gravesend as a result of earth movements

Collapse: Coffin-shaped holes have been opening up in the cemetery in Gravesend as a result of earth movements

Warning: Visitors have been told to be careful where they step in this Gravesend cemetery after large holes began to open up

Warning: Visitors have been told to be careful where they step in this Gravesend cemetery after large holes began to open up

Several plots have sunk below ground level following weeks of heavy rain. 

Worried cemetery bosses have revealed they have never before seen graves sinking into the ground on such a scale.

A technique known as backfilling has so far failed, as the heavy rain has seen the soil compact down.

Now visitors have been warned to tread carefully – as holes may be lying underneath a mere ‘carpet’ of grass.

The graves, including those at another cemetery in neighbouring Northfleet, have been sinking into the ground over the last fortnight.

The cemetery in Gravesend where the grave plots have started sinking

The cemetery in Gravesend where the grave plots have started sinking

Unsettling: Heavy rain is being blamed for disturbing the earth and causing graves to collapse in on themselves

Patching up: The local council is busy backfilling the sunken graves with more soil

Patching up: The local council is busy backfilling the sunken graves with more soil

A Gravesham Council spokesman said: ‘It is quite common for graves to sink – especially after a period of heavy rain.

‘However none of the current staff has seen anything on this scale. Both cemeteries have been affected but Northfleet is smaller and has been more manageable.

‘There are two main reasons why it has happened.

WHY DO SINKHOLES HAPPEN?

Urban sinkholes are more common after heavy rain, because they are caused by water flowing through channels below ground and eroding away soil or soft rock like limestone.

As the earth is carried into other parts of the ground large caverns can open up, usually unknown to the authorities or the people living above them.

Once the cavern cannot support the weight of the topsoil above it, it collapses into the ground.

One of the world’s largest sinkholes, the Xiaozhai Tiankeng in China, is more than 2,000ft deep.

‘One is graves are backfilled with loose soil and they sink again once that soil gets so wet and heavy it compacts.

‘One of the first areas that showed a problem had been backfilled three times and needed doing again.

‘Secondly in the old section of the cemetery the graves are deeper, so there are larger cavities for the soil to sink into.

‘We have been working hard to top up the affected graves using extra staff from other teams.

‘It is a gradual process but it is a priority to deal with them.’

 

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MSN

Oregon woman, dog rescued from sinkhole

This image provided by the Portland Oregon Fire & Rescue shows the sinkhole where a woman was rescued unharmed after falling into the 20-foot-deep sinkhole that opened up in her backyard Tuesday night Feb. 18.

The Portland woman and her dog were both unhurt after falling into a 20-foot-deep sinkhole on Tuesday night.

PORTLAND, Ore. — A Portland fire official says a woman and her dog have been rescued unharmed after falling into a 20-foot-deep sinkhole that opened up in her backyard.

Portland Fire & Rescue Lt. Rich Chatman says the woman in her 30s was trying to find her small poodle mix Tuesday night in her dark Portland backyard when she fell into a sinkhole about 3½ feet in diameter. A neighbor who heard her calls for help called 911.

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30 January 2014 11:30 PM

Oil and gas fracking is big business in America, with more than two million hydraulically fractured wells across the country producing 43 and 67 per cent of our national oil and gas outputs, respectively. These wells also nearly played a secondary role as nuclear waste storage sites, had the Atomic Energy Commission had its way with Project Plowshare.

Hydraulic fracturing (or “fracking”) is the process of pumping water deep into the Earth, specifically into underground oil and gas reserves, at tremendous pressures in order to break apart the surrounding rock and free the energy product, which can then be pumped out and used.

However in the mid 1950s, scientists from the Atomic Energy Commission and officials from the US Bureau of Mines began experimenting with an alternative method of fracking, one that employed nuclear bombs more powerful than anything we dropped on the Japanese.

Dubbed Project Plowshare, this insane undertaking explored two industrialized — or “peaceful” — applications for nuclear explosives:

Conceptually, industrial applications resulting from the use of nuclear explosives could be divided into two broad categories: 1) large-scale excavation and quarrying, where the energy from the explosion was used to break up and/or move rock; and 2) underground engineering, where the energy released from deeply buried nuclear explosives increased the permeability and porosity of the rock by massive breaking and fracturing.

In 1967, the AEC teamed up with the US Bureau of Mines and El Paso Natural Gas Company for what would be the first of a series of underground experiments. In a remote gas well outside of Farmington, New Mexico, researchers lowered the 29-kiloton “Gasbuggy” nuclear device 1200 metres into the Earth and set it off. The results were spectacular.

“The 4042-foot-deep detonation created a molten glass-lined cavern about 160 feet in diameter and 333 feet tall,” according to the American Oil and Gas Historical Society. “It collapsed within seconds. Subsequent measurements indicated fractures extended more than 200 feet in all directions — and significantly increased natural gas production.”

The U.S. Government Once Fracked Oil Wells Using Nuclear Bombs

This initial success led to numerous additional tests in the following years — 27 experiments and 35 nuclear explosions in total. While most of the experiments were small, above-ground explosions were detonated in Nevada with the goal of forming craters and canals. Indeed, two additional underground tests in ’69 and ’73 proved even more massive than Gasbuggy.

Read More Here

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Forbes

U.S. Experimented With Nuclear Fracking

Jeff McMahon, Contributor

1/29/2014 @ 12:13PM

A few weeks ago, a reader wrote to me asking how we can be sure the government isn’t slyly getting rid of nuclear waste by injecting it into shale rock that’s been fracked for oil or gas. Jon Abel’s questions will seem far-fetched to some of you, worrisome to others, depending on how much you trust government and the energy industry:

I wanted to mention something that might be getting missed with the whole radioactivity issue surrounding fracking waste water,” my reader wrote. “Has anyone tested for other radioactive metals – such as cesium or plutonium (not just NORM elements)? And, has anyone tested the frack water for radioactivity BEFORE it goes down the frack production wells? Is it possible that the government is getting rid of nuclear waste in this manner?”

Far-fetched or not, no sooner had Jon posed the question than someone proposed it.

At the annual meeting of the American Geophysical Union in San Francisco, Leonid Germanovich of the Georgia Institute of Technology suggested that nuclear wastes deposited in shale rock would never return to the surface.

“It’s basic physics here — if it’s heavier than rock, the fracture will propagate down,” said the physicist and civil and environmental engineer.

Jens Birkholzer, head of the Nuclear Energy and Waste Program at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, told Livescience the idea is impractical, largely for safety reasons, but in fact, the government has already disposed of nuclear wastes this way, as you’ll read below.

Jon Abel’s questions had me wondering whether these two explosive forms of energy extraction had ever been combined.

And indeed they have.

In December, 1967, scientists from the Atomic Energy Commission and officials from the U.S. Bureau of Mines and El Paso Natural Gas Company gathered at a gas well in northern New Mexico, near Farmington. They lowered a 29-kiloton nuclear device more than 4,000 feet down the shaft and set it off.

It worked.

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Jan. 24, 2014 at 6:44 PM ET

U.S. Geological Survey, file
Undated photo provided by the U.S. Geological Survey shows a landslide trench and ridge east of Reelfoot Lake in Obion County, Tenn., made by the New Madrid earthquakes in the early 1800s.

LOS ANGELES — The New Madrid fault zone in the nation’s midsection is active and could spawn future large earthquakes, scientists reported.

It’s “not dead yet,” said U.S. Geological Survey seismologist Susan Hough, who was part of the study published online Thursday by the journal Science.

Researchers have long debated just how much of a hazard New Madrid (MAD’-rihd) poses. The zone stretches 150 miles, crossing parts of Arkansas, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Mississippi, Missouri and Tennessee.

In 1811 and 1812, it unleashed a trio of powerful jolts — measuring magnitudes 7.5 to 7.7 — that rattled the central Mississippi River valley. Chimneys fell and boats capsized. Farmland sank and turned into swamps. The death toll is unknown, but experts don’t believe there were mass casualties because the region was sparsely populated then.

Unlike California’s San Andreas and other faults that occur along boundaries of shifting tectonic plates, New Madrid is less understood since it’s in the middle of the continent, far from plate boundaries.

Previous studies have suggested that it may be shutting down, based on GPS readings that showed little strain accumulation at the surface. Other research came to the same conclusion by blaming ongoing quake activity on aftershocks from the 1800s, which would essentially relieve strain on the fault.

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The Weather Channel The Weather Channel

Published on Jan 6, 2014

It could happen with little or no warning, and it could wipe out the human race. Matt Sampson explains how a Supervolcano is well within the realm of possibility… It’s happened before.

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Examiner.com

 

Supervolcano beneath Yellowstone could wipe out human life in North America

Yellowstone National Park

Photo by Getty Images/Getty Images

The story story of the supervolcano beneath Yellowstone National Park is making headlines in the United Kingdom. The headline in BBC online read, “Yellowstone supervolcano ‘even more colossal

“The supervolcano that lies beneath Yellowstone National Park in the US is far larger than was previously thought, scientists report.”

A new study released last week shows that the Yellowstone volcano has a magma chamber more than twice as large as previous estimates. The so-called super-volcano stretches for more than 55 miles and contains between 200 to 600 cubic kilometers of lava.

Underground cavern of lava

A cavern containing the red-hot lava is 20 miles wide and almost two miles deep.

“We’ve been working there for a long time, and we’ve always thought it would be bigger,” said Bob Smith, University of Utah professor and geologist. “But this finding is astounding.”

The volcano study results were presented last week at the American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting in San Francisco.

Read More and Watch Video  Here

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LiveScience

El Hierro island
El Hierro island
Credit: NASA Earth Observatory

Two years after a new underwater volcano appeared offshore of El Hierro in the Canary Islands, earthquake swarms and a sudden change in height suggest a new eruption is brewing near the island’s villages, officials announced today (Dec. 27).

After the announcement, one of the largest temblors ever recorded at the volcanic island, a magnitude-5.1 earthquake, struck offshore of El Hierro at 12:46 p.m. ET (5:46 p.m. local time) today, the National Geographic Institute reported. Residents on the island reported strong shaking, and the quake was felt throughout the Canary Islands, according to news reports. The earthquake’s epicenter was 9 miles (15 kilometers) deep.

Before the earthquake struck early this afternoon, the island’s volcano monitoring agency, Pelvolca, had raised the volcanic eruption risk for El Hierro to “yellow.” This warning means that activity is increasing at the volcano, but no eruption is imminent. A similar burst of activity prompted a yellow warning in June 2012, but the volcano soon quieted down.

 

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SHAKE AND BLOW


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.

 

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New volcanic islet unites with already existing Japan island

11 hours ago by in National

 

 

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.

 

Read More Here

 

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Volcanic island off coast of Japan TRIPLES IN SIZE after fresh undersea eruptions

By Simon Tomlinson

 

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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.

Scroll down for video

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

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

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 discoloration of the water caused by the volcanic minerals and white puffs of steam and gases can also be seen.

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

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

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

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.

 

Read More Here

 

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