Japan Welcomes Newest Island After Undersea Volcanic Eruption
Off the coast of the Japanese island of Iwo Jima, a new island has emerged due to an undersea volcanic eruption three weeks ago, as reported by Japan's Meteorological Agency. The University of Tokyo's Earthquake Research Institute confirmed the eruption on October 30, highlighting magma buildup under the water before breaking the surface.
Situated approximately 1 km from Iwo Jima and 1,200 km from mainland Japan, the unnamed land mass formed this month as volcanic ash and rocks accumulated from the sea bed. It spans about 100 metres in diameter and rises up to 20 metres above sea level.
The volcanic division analyst, Yuji Usui, explained that the island's surface, described as "crumbly," is being eroded by waves, leading to its gradual reduction in size. Experts are optimistic about studying the land mass further to determine its composition, although they are unsure how long the island will last.
This recent addition to Japan's islands is situated within the Ogasawara Island chain and is now part of a geological landscape accustomed to dramatic bursts of volcanic activity called the Pacific Ring of Fire. The region, home to 111 active volcanoes, has witnessed similar eruptions in recent years, resulting in the formation of new islands.
Fukashi Maeno, an associate professor at Tokyo University’s earthquake research institute, noted that the new island's formation is evidence of magmatic activity returning to the area. The island could either grow larger and change shape if eruptions continue, or it may eventually disappear beneath the waves, as seen with previous instances of island formations in the region.
The island's proximity to Iwo Jima, known for some of the fiercest battles of World War II, adds historical significance to the newfound land. Iwo Jima's Mount Suribachi, where the iconic flag-raising photograph was taken on February 23, 1945, symbolises the Pacific War.