Volcanic Island Eats Another off Coast of Japan

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Credit: CNN.com

NASA’s Earth Observatory reports that Niijima Island, a volcano which broke through the ocean’s surface last year (2013), has now merged with a nearby island that formed from a volcano which last erupted 40 years ago, according to CNN News.

Niijima emerged about 500 meters from the older Nishinoshima Island in 2012. Now, according to observations taken at the end of March 2013, they are one, measuring about a kilometer across. And at its highest point, the new island is 60 meters above sea level. That is  triple the highest point observed in December 2013 according to the NASA Report.

At its size, the new island was expected to last several years, according to Japanese scientists; because it has continued to grow, it could last much longer according to ABC News.

“A lot of it depends on how fast it erodes,” Ken Rubin, a University of Hawaii at Manoa professor and expert in deep submarine volcanism, told CNN after the island broke the surface. “Until it shuts off, it’s too soon to tell.” The island sits on the Pacific “Ring of Fire,” which stretches from the coast of Chile north to Alaska and Siberia and then south to New Zealand according to NBC News.