A NASA satellite has detected the emergence of a new island off the coast of Japan. The island, which was born at the end of October, was spotted by the joint NASA/U.S. Geological Survey satellite Landsat-9 on November 3. The birth of the island occurred near Iwo Jima island, which is part of the Volcano Islands archipelago in southern Japan.
The island came into existence when magma fell into the ocean and exploded, sending chunks of rock up to 160 feet (50 meters) into the air. The eruption is believed to have started on October 21, 2023, according to researchers from the University of Tokyo. They also noted that this eruption took place in a location similar to a previous eruption in 2022, suggesting the resumption of magma activity on Iwo Jima.
The underwater eruptions resulted in two explosive events at the southern tip of Iwo Jima, causing rocks to accumulate to the north. Over time, these rocks formed a 330-foot (100-meter) wide island, situated around half a mile (1 kilometer) away from Iwo Jima. The area surrounding the island is filled with pumice, which is a lightweight rock formed when lava high in water and gases is ejected from a volcano and cools rapidly.
Landsat-9 captured images of the new island from its position above Earth, comparing observations from November 3 to those taken on October 18 when the island was not yet present. The birth of the island was also witnessed by an aircraft owned by Mainichi Shimbun, a Japanese newspaper.
Researchers from the University of Tokyo stated that the site of the new island has been a frequent location of underwater eruptions in recent years and is one of the world’s fastest-rising caldera volcanoes.