New Japan volcanic islet here to stay, for now: official

Dec 10, 2013
Smoke rises from a newly created islet from a volcano near the Ogasawara island chain in Japanese waters, 1,000 kilometres south of Tokyo. on November 21, 2013

A new island created by a volcanic eruption off Japan's coast is here to stay—for now at least, scientists said Tuesday, adding the new landmass could withstand erosion for several years.

Lava that was dramatically vented when an began erupting last month cooled and solidified above the surface of the sea, creating a small island 1,000 kilometres (600 miles) south of Tokyo.

At the time, Japan's coastguard said it was too early to mark a new entry on the national map because it could soon disappear.

But on Tuesday, Japan's meteorological agency said the island looked set to hang around for some time.

"As the volcanic eruption is still continuing, we don't know the fate of the island," said agency official Tomoyuki Kano.

"But it won't disappear in days or weeks, and will probably last for several years... unless a huge happens and blows it apart," he said.

By early this month the island had grown to more than three-and-a-half times its original size, reaching 0.056 square kilometres (14 acres) by December 4.

"We are still seeing a wisp of smoke and some ash coming from the islet, and occasionally there is lava belching forth, so the islet may grow even bigger," Kano added.

Map locating a new island created by a volcanic eruption in November off Japan's coast.

Video footage taken on December 1 showed a thread of white smoke curling out of the top of the islet, with the sea around it turning reddish.

Similar eruptions in the early 1970s and mid-80s created tiny islets in Japan's territory that have since been partially or completely eaten up by the ocean.

While the new island is in uncontested waters, its emergence comes as Tokyo is embroiled in a row with Beijing over the sovereignty of a small archipelago in the East China Sea.

The sudden appearance sparked quips from ministers about the expansion of Japan's territorial waters.

Explore further: Volcano raises new island far south of Japan

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Volcanic eruption coats Japanese city with ash

Aug 19, 2013

Residents in a southern Japanese city accustomed to frequent eruptions from a nearby volcano were busy washing ash off the streets Monday after the mountain spewed a record-high smoke plume into the sky.

New Zealand volcano lets off steam

Aug 20, 2013

A volcano off New Zealand sent a plume of steam two kilometres (1.24 miles) into the air Tuesday, although volcanologists described the eruption as small and said it was over in minutes.

Japan 'takes issue with Google maps' over islands

Sep 29, 2013

Japan has asked local authorities and state-run universities not to post Google maps on their websites because some of them use non-Japanese names for disputed islands, reports said Sunday.

Recommended for you

Kiribati leader visits Arctic on climate mission

Sep 20, 2014

Fearing that his Pacific island nation could be swallowed by a rising ocean, the president of Kiribati says a visit to the melting Arctic has helped him appreciate the scale of the threat.

NASA catches a weaker Edouard, headed toward Azores

Sep 19, 2014

NASA's Aqua satellite passed over the Atlantic Ocean and captured a picture of Tropical Storm Edouard as it continues to weaken. The National Hurricane Center expects Edouard to affect the western Azores ...

User comments : 0