Volcano Spawns New Island

Japan welcomes tiny new territory

By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff

Posted Nov 21, 2013 1:51 AM CST | Updated Nov 21, 2013 7:30 AM CST

(Newser) – An undersea volcanic eruption has given Japan a tiny patch of new territory—but the country is going to wait and see whether the sea swallows it before it names the new island. The island was born in a huge eruption of exploding rocks and smoke that reached one-third of a mile into the air. It currently measures around 660 feet in diameter and sits just off the coast of Nishinoshima, an uninhabited island 620 miles south of Tokyo, the AP reports. The Bangkok Post reports that the Japanese navy first spotted smoke yesterday morning, with Volcano Discovery reporting that the navy identified "surtseyan activity" there; that's the "explosive interaction of sea-water and lava, generating violent jets of steam and ash."

The coast guard then verified the presence of the volcano island and issued a more measured warning to ships: "Smoke is still rising from the volcanic island, and we issued a navigation warning to say that this island has emerged with ash falling in the area." It is the first known volcanic activity in the area, part of the Pacific's "Ring of Fire," in around 40 years. "This has happened before and in some cases the islands disappeared," a government spokesman says, though if it doesn't, Japan has plans for the bit of land, reports Kyodo News: "If it becomes an island, our country's territorial waters will expand," he noted, which the Post says was directed at the country's battles with China and South Korea over another set of islands far from this one. (In Pakistan, a new island appeared after an earthquake two months ago, but it is already beginning to sink.)

Smoke billows from a new island off the coast of Nishinoshima, a small, uninhabited island in the Ogasawara chain, far south of Tokyo.   (AP Photo/Kyodo News)
Smoke billows from a new island off the coast of Nishinoshima, Japan.   (AP Photo/Kyodo News)
Smoke billows from a new island off the coast of Nishinoshima, a small, uninhabited island in the Ogasawara chain, far south of Tokyo.   (AP Photo/Kyodo News)
« Prev« Prev | Next »Next » Slideshow
The island's birth can be seen in this Fuji News Network video.   (YouTube)

« Prev« Prev | Next »Next »
My TakeCLICK BELOW TO VOTE
2%
81%
3%
12%
2%
1%
To report an error on this story, notify our editors.

NEWS FROM OUR PARTNERS
Other Sites We Like:   The Street   |   MSN Living   |   PopSugar Tech   |   RealClear   |   24/7 Wall St.   |   Biography   |   Barstool Sports   |   OK!