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Japan Gets New Island After Undersea Volcano Erupts

A new island has been discovered near the Japanese island of Iwo Jima. Composed mostly of rock masses, it could continue to grow if volcanic activity persists.



An undersea volcanic eruption has led to the formation of a new island off the coast of Iwo Jima in the Ogasawara Islands. (Courtesy of the Japan Coast Guard)

A new island has formed after a volcanic eruption occurred approximately 1 kilometer (0.6 mi) offshore near Iwo Jima in the Ogasawara Islands. Associate Professor Fukashi Maeno from the University of Tokyo's Earthquake Research Institute confirmed this discovery by November 7.

Volcanic smoke was observed off the coast of Iwo Jima. Ejected rock masses have formed a new island. Ogasawara, Tokyo, on October 30. (©Kyodo)

According to Professor Maeno, aerial observations on October 30 revealed magma coming into contact with seawater, causing a magma phreatic explosion. Smoke intermittently rose, reaching heights exceeding 50 meters (164 ft). There were occasional ejections of rocks, some several meters in size. To the north, an island comprised of rock masses had materialized. The new island was observed to be approximately 100 meters in diameter. Drifting pumice and alterations in the color of seawater in the surrounding area were also noted.


Island Could Grow

The Japan Meteorological Agency reported volcanic activity in this region from July to December 2022 and again in June 2023. The current eruption is believed to have started on October 21. Professor Maeno commented, "This indicates a resurgence in magma activity. The new island is expected to grow if the eruption persists, but the duration remains uncertain."

The island is only around 100 meters in diameter but could grow if volcanic activity persists. (©Kyodo)


(Read the article in Japanese.)

Author: The Sankei Shimbun

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