TNB Night Owl – Birth Of A Pacific Island

Fukutoku-Okanoba Volcano erupting on or about August 16, 2021, forming a new island. The pyramid-shaped island in the background is South Iwo Jima. Image captured by the News Blender.

Pass out the cigars! Earth’s newest island was visually confirmed on August 16, 2021 (that would be Sunday, August 15, here in the U.S.) by the Japanese Coast Guard. Currently about 1 kilometer across, the island is so new it doesn’t even have a name yet. The volcanic eruption, which began August 13, has sent clouds of ash 16 km (10 miles) high up into the atmosphere.

Fukutoku-Okanoba Volcano, located 5 kilometers (3 miles) north by northeast of South Iwo Jima Island, and 57 km (35 miles) south by southeast of Iwo Jima, is an active undersea volcano in the Japanese Volcano Island chain, south of Japan. Normally submerged, the volcano erupts every so often without breaking the surface, but occasionally has birthed several ephemeral islands, most recently in 1904-05, 1914, and 1986. Each of these temporary islands have been washed away by ocean currents as they only consisted of volcanic ash. Had Fukutoku-Okanoba spewed lava along with ash, the islands it produced would have become permanent. The most recent eruption prior to this past weekend occurred in 2010 but did not create an island.

The Japanese Volcano Island chain, which includes Iwo Jima and South Iwo Jima islands and many active volcanoes, is part of a larger volcanic chain called the Izu-Bonin-Mariana arc, or simply the Bonin Islands. This long arc of volcanoes mark the boundary, or subduction zone, where the Pacific Plate meets the Philippine Sea Plate. Deep under the ocean, on the east side of this long, vast island chain, the Bonin Trench marks exactly where the Pacific Plate is subducting under the Philippine Sea Plate.

There are many volcanoes currently active all around the world, particularly along the Pacific rim, or “ring of fire”. Fukutoku-Okanoba is just one more. Hopefully this eruption will last long enough and ooze enough lava to finally make this seamount into a permanent island.

“The World’s Newest Volcanic Island; Fukutoku Okanoba Volcano in Japan” (3:52):

Question Of The Night: Whether or not you have one, how important is a basement to you? Do you wish you had one, or, do you wish you didn’t? What’s great or not so great about it?

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About Richard Doud 622 Articles
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