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New Island Erupts into the Japanese Archipelago

New Island Erupts into the Japanese Archipelago

The island forming off Iōtō (Source: Japanese Self-Defense Forces)

Across its vast archipelago, Japan is comprised of over 14,000 islands, from Honshu to innumerable uninhabited inlets. Just recently, another island has joined this long list, the product of volcanic activity off Iōtō, also known as Iwo Jima. The eruption began on October 21, with phreatomagmatic explosions belching steam and magma to the surface and eventually forming a small landmass. 

Iōtō itself is a volcanic island, a caldera adorned with Mt. Motoyama, Mt. Suribachi and now joined by this as yet unnamed island. This landmass is actually the product of two forces: the erupting crater that is spewing magma and a vent where rock mass is being ejected. Together, they are forming a new landmass, but it is unclear whether the island is a permanent fixture, as it may collapse back into the ocean after the eruption.

The eruption poses no risk—Iōtō is uninhabited say for a Japanese military airstrip, the same base that witnessed some of the most brutal combat of the Second World War. Additionally, the eruption is small and, based on previous volcanic activity, is likely to subside within a month. Until then, the island is an ongoing demonstration of the volcanic activity that has shaped Japan’s islands and the rest of the Pacific’s Ring of Fire.

Evidence of Japan’s volcanic geography is found all over its islands, including in this Mount Fuji Lava proudly offered by Mini Museum!

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