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New Volcanic Island of Nijima Eats Another Off Japan

Update Date: Apr 08, 2014 11:14 AM EDT
Climate change is revealing some of the strangest thing on the Earth, and the latest in the series are the remains of world war II soldiers. (Photo : Flickr/ippei-janine)

A volcanic island off Tokyo has recently emerged with another nearby island, according to NASA's Earth Observatory. Nijima island attached itself to the another volcanic island Nishinoshima whose last eruption was observed 40 years ago.

Last year in November, Nijima was observed breaking out of the ocean around 500 meters away from Nishinoshima. Since then the island has been continuously growing in mass and by the end of last month the two were connected. 

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"The water around the islands was discolored by volcanic minerals and gases, as well as by seafloor sediment stirred up by the ongoing eruption. A faint plume, likely steam and other volcanic gases associated with the eruption, extended away from the new island to the southeast," NASA wrote on the Earth Observatory Web page. 

The newly formed island is now one kilometer in length and the highest point is at 60 meters above sea level. Scientists believe that because of its rapid growth the island could last on the surface for a long time.

"Our planet is an active one, constantly churning and moving. Old land is subducted under continental plates, and new land forms as volcanoes take the guts of the Earth and eject them onto the surface," wrote Slate's Phil Plait on his blog Bad Astronomy about the new volcanic island. "This usually takes millions of years to see real progress, but it does sometimes also happen on a human timescale."

"Many islets have been formed in the waters off Japan in the 1970s and 80s but have disappeared back into the ocean already" said University of Hawaii professor and deep submarine volcanism expert Ken Rubin, according to JDP. "A lot of it depends on how fast it erodes." 



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