A newborn island which has recently emerged from the Pacific Ocean after an underwater volcanic eruption is now visible from space, images from the European Space Agency (ESA) reveal. Satellite images show the new landmass located about 1 kilometer off the coast of the Japanese island of Iwo Jima.
The submerged volcano began erupting on October 21, with activity intensifying over the next 10 days. On October 30, explosions were occurring every few minutes, according to a translated statement. The eruption threw large chunks of rock into the air and sent a jet of gas and ash more than 50 meters almost vertically above the water’s surface.
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Since the volcano began erupting, “volcanic ash and rocks have accumulated to form the new island, which is now also visible from space.” statement » of the ESA declared. The last image was taken with the Landsat 9 satellite on November 3. It shows Iwo Jima – which is about 1,200 km south of Tokyo – before and after the latest eruption.
In addition to the new island, the volcano also produced a sea of floating pumice, a type of extremely porous rock that forms during explosive eruptions. A new analysis of this pumice revealed that its chemical composition differed from that of ejecta from other volcanoes in this chain, according to a different study. translated statement. The pumice likely came from an eruption along the back-arc rift zone – the area behind a volcanic arc, the release said.
The latest eruption is occurring in almost the exact same location as the one that took place in July 2022, suggesting that magma activity is resuming on Iwo Jima. The eruption has now subsided, Yuji Usui, an analyst with the Japan Meteorological Agency, told the AP.
The new island was about 330 feet (100 m) wide and up to 66 feet (20 m) high, but it appears to be shrinking as waves erode the “brittle” rock, Usui said. It’s unclear whether the new island will survive and it depends on what material it’s made of: if it’s lava, it could stay longer. “We just have to see the evolution,” he told the AP.