Dramatic New Video Shows Volcano Forming an Island

New footage reveals rise of Japan's Nishino Shima, formerly "Snoopy Island."

Japan's newest real estate continues to expand about 600 miles (970 kilometers) south of Tokyo, although it is hardly ready for moving vans. The uninhabited island of Nishino Shima remains the site of an active volcano that is vigorously spewing ash, rock, and lava.

The volcano's fireworks were captured by video released last week by the Japanese Coast Guard. The reel shows a series of eruptions from the volcano, with plumes of ash, roiling lava, and ethereal smoke rings.

The volcanic island of Niijima first broke above the Pacific Ocean on November 20, 2013. It subsequently merged with the neighboring uninhabited island of Nishino Shima, part of a chain of about 30 small islands called the Bonin Islands, or the Ogasawara chain.

In January 2014, photos of the new island showed that it resembled the outline of the cartoon character Snoopy, prompting many Internet users to dub it Snoopy Island. But since then, continued volcanism has caused the island to expand and take on an oval shape, with the active volcano in the center. (Watch previous video of the volcano.)

Nishino Shima is now roughly one square mile and growing, the Japanese Coast Guard reports. When it first appeared above the waves in 2013, it was about 660 feet (200 meters) in diameter.

According to NASA's Earth Observatory, the volcano had last erupted in 1973 and 1974. It is part of the Ring of Fire that surrounds much of the Pacific Ocean and marks a region of active volcanism.

The new island mass lies about 80 miles (130 kilometers) from the nearest inhabited island. Although most people in Japan live on its four large islands, the nation is made up of thousands of islands, some of which have been involved in territorial disputes with China. (Related: "How Did the Pakistan Earthquake Create a Mud Island?")

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