Volcanic Island Eats Another Island For Breakfast

By Courtney Flannery 2014-04-09 08:36:02
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Volcanic activity has not exactly been something humans have been crazy about in the past. Even though volcanic and tectonic activity are what make the very ground we walk on, volcanoes near society usually mean earthquakes and a ton of destruction. But what happens when volcanoes actually make something really cool instead of destroying things?

According to Counsel&Heal, last November, Nijima, a tiny island, was starting to emerge about 600 miles off the coast of Tokyo, Japan. It appeared about 500 meters away from nearby island Nishinoshima, and apparently Nijima got hungry and decided to swallow up its neighboring island. This process of island formation and creation has mostly taken place in the past over millions of years, but this particular case is unfolding right before our eyes and will continue to grow and change.

The water around both islands began to be discolored and full of volcanic gases and minerals as well as tons of sediment. The underground volcano that created Nijima was continuing to erupt under the earth's surface even as the island emerged from the ocean. Steam and volcanic gases probably helped extend the island into the neighboring Nishinoshima. Island formation off the coast of Japan has been occurring constantly since the earth was formed billions of years ago. During the 1970s and 80s there were islands that suddenly appeared off the coast of Japan, but the majority of these islands disappeared under the water's surface. This time it seems that they may be sticking around.

Japan lies in the so called Ring of Fire, an expanse of the Pacific Ocean where there is a ton of tectonic activity including earthquakes and volcanoes. This area includes all of North and South America's west coasts including many major cities like Los Angeles, many east Asian island chains and Japan. These spots see a ton of volcanoes and earthquakes each and every day, even if they are so tiny they can't be felt or erupt underground. While earthquakes and volcanoes can be devastating to human life when they strike, they do create some pretty amazing and beautiful features in nature, like these new islands.

Check out this awesome video below from Euronews on YouTube. It shows the tiny island growing and spouting plumes of volcanic ash into the air. Even those the islands may never be habitable in our lifetime, it is awesome to see them growing and changing.


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