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Exploding Underwater Volcano Brings New Island South of Japan

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Planet Earth is welcoming a new little island! An underwater volcano eruption has created a tiny islet, just 600 feet in diameter, south of Japan. But will it last long?

“Most of the time islands like this have very short lives because they are built of ash and larger rock particles that get eroded by wave action,” Bruce Houghton, a professor of volcanology at the University of Hawaii, told the Los Angeles Times.

However, there’s a possibility that the little island could be with us for awhile. The huge plumes of steam and ash are caused by the sea water mixing with magma. If the island grows bigger, the sea water will be pushed away from the magma, giving the island the possibility of developing a more stable “skin” and be tougher against wave action.

This islet-creating volcano is located in the Izu-Bonin-Mariana system, which forms a line of volcanoes in the western Pacific south of Japan. The forming island is located off the coast of the island Nishino-Shima, which is uninhabited and also formed from volcanic rock.

So how long will this volcano be erupting? That’s hard to say.

“If we look globally at eruptions, some have lasted a few hours and some have lasted for 30 years,” Houghton said. “It is such a huge range.”

Check out the LA Times’ report for footage from the Japan Coast Guard of the volcano erupting.

Photo credit: Shutterstock.com

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