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Upper photo shows Nishinoshima Island (back), an uninhabited islet in the Ogasawara islet chain some 1,000 kilometers south of Tokyo, and a new island formed nearby as a result of an undersea volcanic eruption, on Nov. 21, 2013; the bottom photo shows the same two islands on Dec. 20, 2013.

The top photo shows Nishino Shima Island, an uninhabited islet in the Ogasawara chain, and a new island formed nearby as a result of an undersea volcanic eruption, on November 21, 2013; the bottom photo shows the same two islands on December 20, 2013.

PHOTOGRAPH BY KYODO, AP

Brian Clark Howard

National Geographic

Published December 23, 2013

Japan's newest island now has a name, Niijima, and it continues to grow.

The small volcanic island sits about 600 miles (970 kilometers) south of Tokyo, offshore of a small, uninhabited island called Nishino Shima. Located in Japanese waters, the newborn island is now one of about 30 known as the Bonin Islands, or the Ogasawara chain.

Niijima was first noticed on November 20. On the next day, the Japanese coast guard released video of the island forming, showing billowing smoke, steam, ash, and rocks exploding from a crater that had erupted from the sea.

At the time, Japanese scientists were unsure how long the island would last, as the ocean often reclaims such volcanic islets within a short time.

Since then, however, the island has grown significantly, thanks to ongoing eruptions of the underlying volcano, which sits along the Izu-Ogasawara-Mariana Trench. According to the Japan Meteorological Agency, Niijima has grown to 56,000 square meters (13.8 acres), about three times its initial size. It rises about 65 to 82 feet (20 to 25 meters) above sea level.

Japanese scientists now say that they expect the island has grown large enough to survive for at least several years, if not permanently.

According to NASA's Earth Observatory, Nishino Shima, which sits about 1,640 feet (500 meters) away from the new island Niijima, last erupted and expanded in 1973 and 1974. The two islands lie about 130 kilometers (80 miles) from the nearest inhabited island.

Map showing Japan's newest island, Niijima.

While most people in Japan live on its four large islands, the nation is actually made up of thousands of islands.

In a NASA satellite image taken December 8, Niijima could be clearly seen next to the larger Nishino Shima. The water around Niijima was visibly discolored by volcanic minerals, gases, and seafloor sediment stirred up by the geologic activity. Faint white puffs of steam and volcanic gases were also visible in the image.

Volcanic activity has long reshaped the features of the planet, today particularly along the Rim of Fire, a fringe of coastline that surrounds much of the Pacific Ocean and that includes Japan.

Follow Brian Clark Howard on Twitter and Google+.

58 comments
D. Prescott
D. Prescott

Just more proof that the earth is alive. More chances for cool rocks and gems.

robbie butler
robbie butler

china couldnt claim this anyways  only japan or nearby small island countrys should have claim to it or share it

robbie butler
robbie butler

china doenst need these islands they have to much muney and plus greedy comu nist hores  japan needs to recover the land losses from fukashima

robbie butler
robbie butler

godcreated the island by making the volcano explode


and god created the  molecules in the sea that created life 

he created the dinousaus too     stupid atheists   because they believe nothing

they dont understand dont 

Robert Hersh-Geer
Robert Hersh-Geer

Yes its amazing just what nature can do on this world. Plate tectonics in action. Friction, lava, and gravity all play a part in the creation of a new island. God had nothing to do with it as it does not exist.

Ísleifur Gíslason
Ísleifur Gíslason

"The Surtsey [island] eruption is among the longest eruptions to have occurred in Iceland in historical times. The first sign of an eruption came early in the morning of November 14, 1963, at a site approximately 18 km southwest of Heimaey"


http://www.surtsey.is/pp_ens/gen_3.htm

Lisa Shirkey
Lisa Shirkey

I can't wait to share this with my students!

Morsi Allam
Morsi Allam

thanks for showing us this ,,its one of most amazing things we ever seen !

Rauf Sheldrake
Rauf Sheldrake

..... They said: that it's gonna start with an island. .........

Rauf Sheldrake
Rauf Sheldrake

..........  Japan's Claws are forming in the unraveling of time ............

Ezz El Sherbiny
Ezz El Sherbiny

At least the hocus pocus about God creating the earth and getting it done in six days finally goes out of the window.  How I wish God inspired more people to read about geology as much as they read from the Holy books.   But then this would beat the whole point wouldn't it .

Jeri Kirkland
Jeri Kirkland

This is absolute proof that God is still creating this Earth, and we are here to witness it.  Wow!

Aj R.
Aj R.

She already looks green?

Renee Gir
Renee Gir

it' s the good signal that humans don' t have any power on nature forces

Jean Rebekah
Jean Rebekah

It's amazing what nature and volcanoes can do

angel medina
angel medina

I always tought God finish his creation on the sixth day and on the seventh day he rest

Abhik Chakraborty
Abhik Chakraborty

The formation and development of the new island in the Izu Ogasawara arc is an exciting opportunity to appreciate activities on the geologic scale. In fact, similar submarine volcanism created at least a part of the existing larger landmasses in the area----and considering the fact that Nishinoshima itself erupted in the 1970s, the region looks an excellent classroom for geology enthusiasts! 

Robert Hersh-Geer
Robert Hersh-Geer

@Jeri KirklandSo you think that God has something to do with this? Just like you believe in Sea Monsters, Leviathans, Behemoths, Dragons, Unicorns, Giants,
Talking donkeys, Talking bushes, talking snakes, Cockatrices, and Satyrs as they are all in the Bible. 

Ezz El Sherbiny
Ezz El Sherbiny

@Jeri Kirkland     Aha ... so the hocus pocus about God creating the earth in six days finally goes out of the window.  How I wish God inspired more people to read about geology as much as they read from the Holy book.   But then this would beat the whole point wouldn't it ....

Robert Hersh-Geer
Robert Hersh-Geer

@Ramen chakravortySo you think that God has something to do with this? Just like you believe in Sea Monsters, Leviathans, Behemoths, Dragons, Unicorns, Giants,
Talking donkeys, Talking bushes, talking snakes, Cockatrices, and Satyrs as they are all in the Bible. 

Nicholas Cwc
Nicholas Cwc

@Ramen chakravorty So true, and I find that a lot of people on NAT GEO are atheists.. They believe science can do everything. Yet so many things they can't explain with their "science". 


If they don't see it or can't explained it, it doesn't exist. *smh*

Morsi Allam
Morsi Allam

@Ezz El Sherbinyi did study geology in alexandria faculty of agerculture ..and it never get crossed with anything in the holy book

Dave Anthony
Dave Anthony

@Roger Bird @angel medina sorry but had to say this, before checking spelling and grammar of others,  you may check what you had posted. "spelling a grammar" ?? is that correct?


Uday Sam
Uday Sam

@Roger Bird @angel medina you cant blame god for his poor grammer !! you can blame smart a** people like you !! who just made fun of him instead of helping 

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