It was Wednesday morning that the first indications of the eruption reached the public, as Japan's coast guard issued a warning about smoke rising from the area. Footage filmed by the coast guard and shown on Tokyo TV showed up very shortly after:
The island apparently measures about 200 metres wide at the moment, and it joins an island chain known as the Ogasawara Islands, which is a mostly uninhabited archipelago about 1,000 km to the south of Tokyo.
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This is the second island to sprout from ocean waters in recent times. A mud volcano was credited with creating a small island off the coast of Pakistan after a major earthquake shook the country's southern mountains in late September. This particular new island is due to a more conventional volcano, though, which was likely formed as part of the Pacific Ring of Fire.
"This has happened before and in some cases the islands disappeared," Yoshihide Suga, Japan's Minister of Internal Affairs and Communications told CBC News, but added:
"If it becomes a full-fledged island, we would be happy to have more territory."
(Photo courtesy: Reuters)
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