New Island Emerges From Sea After Eruptions From An Underwater Volcano

By Haider Ali in News On 7th November 2023
Credit: NHK News

A new island has formed as a result of an underwater volcano erupting.

On November 1st, authorities verified that the islet—a tiny island—had surfaced.

However, where is this new land, how long will it be there, and is it open for public access?

The new islet is situated in the western Pacific, around 1,220 km southeast of Tokyo, Japan, and lies approximately one kilometer off the shore of Iō-tō Island, formerly known as Iwo Jima island.

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The Asahi Shimbun claims that the Maritime Self-Defence Force's air base, located on Iō-tō island, verified the emergence of the new small island after witnessing and hearing an explosion.

The Japan Meteorological Agency has been reporting volcanic tremors on Iō-tō island every few minutes since October 21. 

Prior to the volcano erupting and the islet emerging, the island has also been rising.

An islet has formed close to the volcano's crater as a result of its eruption.

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JMA representative to The Asahi Shimbun: "It is possible that a large amount of rocks and stones ejected from the crater on the seafloor accumulated and created the islet."

Furthermore, this is not the first time Japan has seen the formation of a new island.

A new crescent-shaped island was formed in 2021 when a second undersea volcano erupted 1,200 kilometers from Tokyo.

But just because the new islands have surfaced doesn't imply they will remain for very long; earlier islands that formed in a similar way in 1904, 1914, and 1986 all eventually vanished due to erosion.

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On the other hand, eliminating the 7,000 newly found Japanese islands earlier this year might be a little more difficult.

Based on a map of the country done in 1987 by the Japan Coast Guard, the number of islands in Japan was previously estimated at about 6,000.

Still, the Geospatial Information Authority (GIA) found this figure was actually somewhat off when using sophisticated mapping technologies.

Japan actually contains over 14,000 islands, according to a recent study, not the 6,000 as was previously thought.

In other words, some of the areas of land that were deemed to be sandbanks rather than islets or islands were counted.

Just 400 of the more than 14,000 islands are truly inhabited, so if, like me, your first thought was to take a vacation there, hold your horses.

Still, it's fantastic to see a new island emerge.

Despite the transitory nature of such islands, they continue to captivate our fascination and contribute to our understanding of the world around us.