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Sunday, July 16, 2017

Birth Of A Nation - Okay, It's An Island

A few years ago, I wrote about a new island being formed in Japanese waters thanks to some heavy volcanic activity. Or... if I didn't... I probably meant too. Whatever.

Anyhow, there's a new island in Japan's waters...

About 620 miles (1000 kilometers) south of Tokyo, there WAS a tiny volcanic island called Nishinoshima (西之島, "western island) ... formed by underwater volcanic activity.

It had formed back in 1973.

It was essentially just the volcanic lava from the cone of a volcano that had its base way down in the Pacific Ocean... about 1.86 miles (three kilometers) in actual height with a circumference of 58.4 miles (94 kilometers) at its widest point (the base).

Nishinoshima, circa 1978. Image from Wikipedia and is Copyright © National Land Image Information (Color Aerial Photographs), Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism.


Those numbers are all estimates, by the way. What they do offer, is a glimpse at just how huge volcanoes are. For the record, Mt. Everest is 8.848 kilometers tall.

Nishinoshima, however, is the newest name for the island... as it was originally known as Rosario Island by the Spanish sailors who discovered it back in 1702.

The Japanese re-named it Nishinoshima in 1904. 

And everything was stable until Rosario Island/Nishinoshima erupted again in 1973, covering all that was of the old island with new lava, creating a new shape over the old landscape, building a larger island.

It remained that way until 2013 when in November... incredibly close to the volcanic island of Nishinoshima - in fact still below the watery surface, MORE explosive volcanic activity was going on.

Spewing lava up and around it, this new island vomited up enough lava that it grew to some 82 feet (25 meters) above the sea level by the end of the month.

While no official name was given to this new volcano-formed isle beside Nishinoshima, the Japanse media dubbed it atarashii shima (新しい島), which translates to "new island"... which means that the Japanese media really lacks a decent imagination. 

One month later, with the volcanic activity still going on, this new island (atarashii shima) merged itself with Nishinoshima creating a larger conjoined Nishinoshima island.

Since the eruptions began in 2013, scientists claim that some 80 Olympic-sized swimming pools of lava are being ejected every single day.

While not safe for humans, obviously, as nature has found a way, the new larger Nishinoshima is becoming a fertile area, as birds in the area continue to poop on it, and, believe it or not, vomit on it...

If you know what's in bird poop and bird vomit you are a more knowledgeable person than my self, but I imaging it contains grass seed or seeds from berries... and while not every thing crapped up turns into a floral bouquet, it is enough to begin the greening of the new Nishinoshima isle.

That's how islands are formed, at any rate.

Take a look at the incredible video montage below... showing the explosive force of the new volcano... and how, at around the 50-second mark you can see just how close the volcano is to old Nishinoshima island... while there is a gap of footage between November 26-December 1 when it is obvious the two isles are now joined... it is an awesome diary.

By January 12, 2014, the newly formed part of Nishinoshima is actually larger than the older section.

While the accompanying music can be a bit grating after a minute--I turned the volume off, I can assure you there is no need for volume... just sit back and watch an island be born and reborn.

The eruptions are still going on as of this date, 2017.

Kanpai,
Andrew Joseph
Photo at the very top is from July 2016, taken by a drone. Image is from the Geospatial Information Authority of Japan website (http://www.gsi.go.jp/gyoumu/gyoumu41000.html)
 

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