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A New Baby Island Has Just Been Born In The Pacific Ocean

New Baby Island

A brand new island has sprung up in a patch of the southwest Pacific Ocean riddled with underwater volcanoes, in line with NASA Earth Observatory.

It started with the eruption of an underwater volcano discovered within the Central Tonga Islands on September 10 – and inside simply eleven hours, a landmass emerged from the watery depths, created by oozing lava that had been cooled by the ocean waters and solidified.

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Over the next days, lava continued to pour and the newly shaped island grew. The island was 170 meters (558 ft) in diameter on September 16 and finally swelled to 182 meters over the next two days.

By September 20, the island had grown to cowl 24,000 sq. meters (6 acres) with an elevation of 10 meters (33 ft).

Sallite image showing the newly formed island in the Pacific Ocean with a plume of steam stemming from it.

An annotated model of the brand new satellite tv for pc picture. Picture credit score: Landsat 9/NASA/NASA Earth Observatory/Lauren Dauphin,

The formation of the brand new island was captured through imagery taken by the Landsat 9 satellite on September 14. On this natural-color picture, we see an unlimited plume of steam and ash drift away from the volcano. It’s also possible to see a cloud of discolored water rising across the landmass, created by the presence of superheated and acidic seawater containing volcanic rock and sulfur.

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The brand new island will be discovered southwest of Late Island, northeast of Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha‘apai, and northwest of Mo‘unga‘one. This a part of the Pacific is dwelling to the Tonga-Kermadec subduction zone, an space the place three tectonic plates are slowly crashing collectively.

All of this tectonic exercise has endowed this a part of the Pacific with a seafloor ridge that has the best density of underwater volcanoes on the earth.

Sadly, the toddler island may not stick round for lengthy. Weathering and erosion from waves and currents can rapidly degrade the volcanic rock, which means this newly shaped island usually disappears rapidly.

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Some new islands, nonetheless, do handle to outlive. In 2014, an underwater volcano on this a part of the Pacific erupted and solid the sizable island of Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha’apai. Though merely a child, the island has already fostered a thriving ecosystem, full with pink flowering vegetation, nesting sooty tern birds, and barn owls – a lot to the shock of scientists.

New Baby Island

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