Underwater volcano erupts, could create new island


TOKYO — An underwater volcanic eruption was detected Wednesday morning close to Minami-Iwoto island in the Pacific Ocean and an expert speculated that the eruption could form a permanent island.

A coast guard vessel spotted a white plume of smoke rising from the sea about three miles north-northeast of the island.

It was the first time since July 2005 that volcanic smoke had been detected in the area, which is located about 745 miles south of central Tokyo.

According to an announcement by the 3rd Regional Coast Guard Headquarters of the Japan Coast Guard, based in Yokohama,
the volcano spewed ash and smoke about 100 meters into the air, and the
surrounding sea area changed to a yellowish-green color while other
parts became a cloudy gray.

According to the Meteorological Agency,
the volcano, known as Fukutokuokanoba, has erupted seven times since
1904, when its activities were first recorded. On three occasions, land
masses were formed, but all later sank below the waterline.

Tokyo Institute of Technology Prof. Kenji Nogami,
an expert in geoscience, said: “In the 1986 eruption, a new island
appeared after lava accumulated. The island was washed away by waves,
but seabed upheaval reduced the water depth to 22 meters in 1999. It’s
possible that this (recent) volcanic activity could form a permanent

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