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The sea “gifts” Japan with a new crescent-shaped island 1,200 km from Tokyo

An underwater volcanic eruption near Japan has created a new crescent-shaped island 745 miles (1,200 km) south of Tokyo, although the new land mass is likely only temporary.

Niijima, which means “new island”, is 0.6 miles in diameter and appeared 3.1 miles north of Minami-Ito, in the middle of the Nanbu Islands south of the Japanese archipelago.

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The island was formed by the eruption of Fukutoku-Okanuba, an undersea volcano that was first discovered when it erupted again in 1904.

According to the Japan Meteorological Agency, the underwater eruption, the first of its kind in 11 years (the last occurred in 2010), began as early as August 13.

Nijima was first discovered by the Japanese Coast Guard two days after the eruption.

According to observations from the sky by the Japan Coast Guard, on August 15, volcanic activity is still continuing in Fukutoko Okanoba, where the eruption began on August 13, the Japan Meteorological Agency said.

Based on their assessment of the eruption and its debris, and the possibility of more volcanic activity in the near future, the Japan Coast Guard has issued a navigational warning to all ships in the area.

“The suspended material, pumice stones (light glassy volcanic rock), etc., due to the eruption of the volcano flows up to 60 kilometers (37 miles) in the northwest direction,” the Japan Meteorological Agency said.

Sailors were also warned to be vigilant of the dangers of “large volcanic bombs” as well as violent horizontal eruptions of gas and ash known as base uplifts that could result from magma and water interactions.

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The formation of new islands in some of Japan’s southernmost waters will have geopolitical consequences if their emergence allows the authorities to demand expansion into their territory.

However, in the long-term, Nijima is so close to Minami-Iōtō that its addition is unlikely to require changes in the extent of Japan’s territorial waters or exclusive economic zone, Japan’s Daily News reported.

Previously, similar formations of small islands were already recorded, which eventually sank into the ocean.

In 2013, for example, a volcanic eruption formed a new island that eventually merged with neighboring Nishinoshima.

The Pacific Ocean also witnessed the emergence of temporary land masses in 1904, 1914 and 1986, which have since been lost due to erosion.

One of the ephemeral islands, called Shin-Iwo-jima, was the first recorded formation of this type, after the 1904 eruption.

The newest temporary island appeared in 1986, but two months later it was engulfed by rock erosion from the waves.

Source: Daily Mail