An underwater volcano is erupting so forcefully off the coast of Japan that it’s led to the formation of a new island.
The islet lies in themore than 1,000 km south of Tokyo in the Pacific Ocean, reports local news agency Asahi Shimbun.
Japan’s Maritime Self-Defence Force’s air base on Iwoto Island (previously known as Iwo Jima Island, the site of a major Second World War battle) confirmed the emergence of the new island last week after personnel heard a loud explosion that sent sand and ash flying high into the air.
The Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA) has been detecting tremors on Iwoto Island regularly since mid-October. The agency says they’ve also detected the island rising in that time.
A JMA official told The Asahi Shimbun: “It is possible that aon the seafloor accumulated and created the islet.”
This is far from the first time a volcano has formed a new island in the Ogasawara island chain. In 2013, a volcanic eruption raised an island in the seas, creating an islet about 200 metres in diameter.
However, this marks the first time magma has started spewing in the region since 1986.
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It’s unknown at this point whether the new island will survive for very long. Most islands of its type eventually submerge or erode within weeks or months, due to the harsh conditions of the ocean.
Japanese officials have issued warnings about smoke and large ash deposits as the latest eruptions continue.
Japan was previously believed to have around 6,000 islands as per a mapping of the country conducted in 1987 by the Japan Coast Guard. But earlier this year, thanks to advanced mapping technology by the Geospatial, it was revealed that the country.
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