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(NASA Earth Observatory / EO-1 - ALI)

Japan’s Newest Island Has Merged With Its Neighbor

Ongoing volcanic activity has caused Japan's newest island to merge with its neighbor

Back in November, a dramatic volcanic eruption gave birth to Japan's newest island, and volcanologist were unsure whether it would survive. It was just a small little islet, spanning 650 feet; the crashing waves of the ocean, said the Associated Press, had the power to erode it away.

But erode it did not. Japan's little island continued to grow and grow, fueled by continued volcanic eruptions. Soon the island grew so big that the island, still unnamed, merged with its neighbor, Nishino-shima Island. The newly conjoined islands are part of the Ogasawara archipelago, also known as the Bonin Islands, which lie south of Japan's major territory.

Earlier this week one of NASA's satellites caught a view of the new islands as they slowly merged together. NASA Earth Observatory:

The Advanced Land Imager (ALI) on NASA’s Earth Observing-1 (EO-1) satellite captured this natural-color image of the islands on December 24, 2013. Only a narrow channel of water appeared to separate the two. The water around the islands was discolored by volcanic minerals and gases, as well as by seafloor sediment stirred up by the ongoing eruption. A faint plume, likely steam and other volcanic gases associated with the eruption, extended away from the new island to the southeast.

Since November 20th, when it first sprang from the sea, the island grew from around 2.5 acres to 37 acres and with volcanic activity still underway it shows no sign of stopping just yet.

More from Smithsonian.com:

A Massive Earthquake in Pakistan Just Forced an Island to Climb Out of the Sea
People Have Already Managed to Litter on Pakistan’s New Earthquake-Formed Island

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About Colin Schultz
Colin Schultz

Colin Schultz is a freelance science writer and editor based in Toronto, Canada. He blogs for Smart News and contributes to the American Geophysical Union. He has a B.Sc. in physical science and philosophy, and a M.A. in journalism.

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