Volcanic Eruption Of Japan's Coast Creates Tiny Island
November 21, 2013

Volcanic Eruption Of Japan’s Coast Creates Tiny Island

Lawrence LeBlond for redOrbit.com - Your Universe Online

Japan, which sits on the so-called “Pacific Ring of Fire,” is now home to a new tiny island thanks to a submarine volcanic eruption. The smoke from the dramatic eruption was first spotted by the Japanese navy on Wednesday and the country’s coast guard later verified the birth of the islet around the Ogasawara island chain, also known as the Bonin Islands.

Advisories from the coast guard and the Japan Meteorological Agency noted that the new islet is about 660 feet in diameter and sits just off the coast of Nishinoshima, a small, uninhabited island. The chain of islands are about 620 miles south of Tokyo.

The coast guard also issued an advisory to passing ships, warning of heavy black smoke from the eruption. Video footage of the eruption showed heavy smoke, ash and rocks exploding from the crater and steam shooting high into the sky.

[ Watch the video: Japanese volcano gives rise to new island ]

A volcanologist for the coast guard, Hiroshi Ito, told the FNN news network that the island may not last,  eventually eroding away.

“But it also could remain permanently,” he told the news agency, as cited by the Associated Press.

The last known eruption of this submarine volcano occurred in 1973. Most of the volcanic activity occurs under the sea, which extends tens of thousands of feet deep along the Izu-Ogasawara-Marianas Trench.

Yoshihide Suga, a spokesman for the Japanese government, welcomed the addition of a potential new piece of land.

“This has happened before and in some cases the islands disappeared,” he noted, explaining that it is not yet known if the island will get a name. “If it becomes a full-fledged island, we would be happy to have more territory.”

This marks the second new island to join the world since September, when an earthquake off the coast of Pakistan created a mound of mud and rock rising more than 70 feet above the surface of the ocean. That phenomenon, which occurred on the coastline near the port of Gwadar, was met with astonishment by locals, but experts noted that it was unlikely to last long.

As for the Japanese archipelago, thousands of islands dot the ocean around the Asian country’s neck of the woods. In some cases, these island chains help anchor claims to wide expanses of ocean territory where potentially lucrative energy and mineral resources are stored.

Japan has long been engaged in a territorial dispute with China and Korea and has announced plans to build port facilities and transplant fast-growing corals onto Okinotorishima, two rocky outcroppings along the southern edge of the archipelago to bolster its claims.