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Satellite Images Shows Japan's Newest Volcanic Island Is Growing

Say hello to Japan's newest island.

James Felton

James Felton

James Felton

James Felton

Senior Staff Writer

James is a published author with four pop-history and science books to his name. He specializes in history, strange science, and anything out of the ordinary.

Senior Staff Writer

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Volcanic island Niijima, off the coast of Iwo Jima.

Welcome to Japan's many thousands of islands, Niijima.

Japan has a lot of islands. So many, in fact, that when it last did a recount in February this year, it found that it has approximately 14,125 islands, rather than the 6,852 they previously thought. That's a lot of islands – but they still keep coming, thanks of course to volcanic activity. 

On October 21, 2023, an underwater eruption hit just off the coast of the island of Iwo Jima, with jets reaching up to 50 meters (164 feet) into the air. The eruption, which also threw out rocks several meters in diameter, birthed a new island named "Niijima", which translates as "new island".

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The new island, formed from volcanic ash and rock, was photographed from space at the end of October

Before and after shots of Iwo Jima from space, showing its new companion island.
Before and after the new island made an appearance.
Image credit: ESA/USGS.


Since then, the island has continued to grow, and it now measures 8.6 kilometers (5.3 miles) in the northeast-southwest direction and 5.6 kilometers (3.5 miles) in the northwest-southeast direction, according to the University of Tokyo.

Footage from the eruption, shared by Japan's coast guard.

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"It is estimated that eruptions are occurring in at least two locations," the university added in a translated press release, "the crater where the phreatomagmatic explosion occurs, and the vent where the rock masses that make up the island are ejected".

"The location of this eruption is almost the same as the 2022 eruption," the statement added, "and is thought to indicate the resumption of magma activity on Iwo Jima."

[H/T: Space.com]


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