Published on : Thursday, December 12, 2013
Located 621 miles south of Tokyo, the island was formed from lava that cooled and solidified above sea level following a large undersea volcano eruption in late November.
The island has expanded more than 3.5 times its original size since then following the eruption and currently covers around 0.02 square miles, according to officials at Japan Meteorological Agency.
The new landmass is believed to be withstanding erosion from seawater, prompting officials at the agency to speculate that the island may become a fixture on the landscape for some years to come.
Tomoyuki Kano, an agency official said that as the volcanic eruption is still continuing, we don’t know the fate of the island. But it won’t disappear in days or weeks and will probably last for several years… unless a huge volcanic eruption happens and blows it apart.
It was on November 20 that the existence of the new islet came to light, with dramatic footage capturing the small, black, round island expelling plumes of smoke off the coast of Nishinoshima.
Although the region is renowned as a hub of seismic activity, it is believed to be the first eruption in the area powerful enough to create a new island formation in decades.
A series of similar eruptions took place in Japan in the 1970s and 1980s, resulting in the creation of tiny islets, many of which have since then been eroded to varying degrees by the ocean.
The landmass is being closely monitored by officials with a view to potentially marking it as a new entry on Japan’s national map in the future if it seems set to remain indefinitely adding to Japan’s natural territorial expansion.