Rare mud volcano erupts spewing sludge onto surrounding grass in Malaysia
IndyTV

There’s a brand new island in the Pacific Ocean which has sprung up as if from nowhere – but it might not be around forever.

It comes after an underwater volcano in the Central Tonga Islands began erupting on September 10, causing lava to pour into the sea over the course of the next few days.

Within hours the lava had been cooled by the sea water and solidified into landmass, forming a new island.

It then grew incredibly quickly. It was 170 metres across six days later, before growing to 24,000 square metres by September 20. It had also been elevated 10 metres above sea level.

Sign up for our free Indy100 weekly newsletter

The island and the contaminated water around it was captured by Nasa’s Landsat 9 satellite on September 14, with the image also showing ash spilling into the atmosphere from the erupting volcano.

The image captured the newly formed island and ash from the volcanoLandsat 9/NASA/NASA Earth Observatory/Lauren Dauphin

The site is found southwest of Late Island, which is an uninhabited volcanic island off the coast of Tonga. It’s one of the most volatile areas in the natural world due to its location in the Tonga-Kermadec subduction zone, which is the point in which three tectonic plates collide.

It might be slightly surreal to see a landform emerge from the ocean so quickly, but it might not be around forever.

Newly formed volcanic rock is often eroded at a fast rate, so the island could vanish from satellite imagery sooner rather than later – although islands formed in this way have been recorded lasting many years.

Have your say in our news democracy. Click the upvote icon at the top of the page to help raise this article through the indy100 rankings.

Please log in or register to upvote this article
The Conversation (0)