Japan's Month-Old Volcanic Island Is Still Growing

NASAThis satellite image of a new island, Niijima, created by volcanic activity in late November was taken on Dec. 8, 2013.

In late November, an underwater volcanic eruption created a new island around 600 miles south of Tokyo in Japanese waters.

One of NASA’s satellites recently took a snapshot of the tiny island from space — which is still growing after being born on Nov. 20, 2013.

According to NASA, the Japan Meteorological Agency said the new island, named Niijima, is now around 13.8 acres, or equivalent to about 10 football fields. The island was initially reported at 660 feet in diameter and officials feared that waves would wash the little mud and rock pile away. But Niijima has held on.

In the photo above, taken on Dec. 8, 2013, water around Niijima looks yellow-ish in colour due to volcanic minerals and gases and ocean sediments that were kicked up during the eruption. A few white puffs above the island are probably steam, also associated with the eruption, according to NASA.

Niijima, the smaller of the two islands in the picture, sits next to another volcanic island, called Nishino-shima, that formed in the early-’70s.

The Japanese Coast Guard took these aerial shots of Nishino-shima and Niijima in December.

Japanse Coast Guard/NASAA photo of the Niijima and Nishino-shima taken on Dec. 1, 2013.
Japanse Coast Guard/NASAA photo of the growing Niijima island taken on Dec. 13, 2013.

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