Journey to the birth of an island: the last natural spectacle of Japan

Journey to the birth of an island: the last natural spectacle of Japan
Japan island

Astonishingly, a new island has emerged following a volcanic eruption near the coasts of Japan, captivating the world with its remarkable occurrence. This formation has taken place in the Ogasawara archipelago, located over a thousand kilometers from Tokyo in the Pacific Ocean. The confirmation of the event came from the military airbase on Iwoto Island, previously known as Iwo Jima, a historic site of a crucial battle during World War II. With such proximity, the powerful explosion that propelled vast amounts of sand and ash into the air was palpable.

The Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA) had been detecting regular seismic activity on Iwoto since mid-October, accompanied by an uplift of the island itself. It is believed that a significant accumulation of rocks expelled from the submarine crater greatly contributed to the creation of the emerging islet.

While it may appear extraordinary, the appearance of new islands due to volcanic eruptions is not unprecedented, especially in the Ogasawara Islands. In 2013, a similar event occurred, resulting in an islet of merely 200 meters in diameter. However, the eruption that brought magma to the surface had not been witnessed in this region since 1986, 37 years ago.

Regarding the future of the island, there are questions as to whether Japan will have a new destination to visit. If it were to remain a small islet, it could potentially become a tourist attraction for brief expeditions, but there are no immediate plans for this. Based on previous experiences in the region, it is likely that the volcanic formation will soon disappear, submerging or eroding due to its fragile nature and the extreme conditions of the ocean.

The number of islands composing Japan has also undergone revision. In 1987, a detailed investigation by the Japanese Coast Guard, utilizing Geospatial technology, revealed that the country has over 14,000 islands, in contrast to the previously estimated 6,000.

So, if you have a trip planned to Japan, you might have the opportunity to witness this fascinating natural phenomenon. Although not unique, it is certainly worth observing from a safe distance, if such a visit can be arranged. Being witness to the powerful forces of nature and how they can give rise to new islands is undoubtedly an unforgettable experience.

In addition to the geological surprise, this event presents a unique opportunity for scientists and geologists to study the real-time formation of new land, its life cycles, and the ecosystems that begin to develop. Such events provide a window into the processes that have shaped the Earth over eons. For local inhabitants and distant observers alike, the emergence of the island also highlights the incessant geological activity of the planet and the constant evolution of its surface. However, the ephemeral nature of these volcanic islands serves as a reminder to everyone of the impermanence of Earth’s creations in the face of the forces of nature.