Russia gains new land after quake, lava flows: scientist

November 13, 2009

Russia, the world's largest country, has grown even larger recently thanks to an earthquake and a volcanic eruption in its seismically active far eastern regions, a scientist said on Friday.

Russia gained 4.5 square kilometers (2.8 square miles) from a 2007 quake on Sakhalin Island and from lava flows this summer on uninhabited Matua Island, both of which lie north of Japan, said geologist Boris Levin.

The powerful 2007 quake near the Sakhalin Island town of Nevelsk lifted part of the sea floor, said Levin, director of the Institute of Sea Geology and Geophysics of far eastern branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences.

"As a result of the earthquake, part of the floor was lifted and became dry ground. The area of the new territory is nearly three square kilometers," Levin told Russia's Vesti-24 television.

Another 1.5 square kilometers appeared on Matua Island after a huge eruption by the Sarychev Peak volcano that began in June, said Levin, adding that geologists recently visited the island and measured the new lands.

Sarychev Peak is one of the most active volcanos on the Kuril Islands, an archipelago which runs northeast from Japan's Hokkaido Island to Russia's .

The southernmost four in the are disputed between and Japan, but Matua Island, where the volcano is located, is agreed to be Russian territory. It is called Matsuwa Island by the Japanese.

(c) 2009 AFP

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