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An Underwater Volcano Creates A New Japanese Island

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Well this is certainly one way to increase your land base, though it isn’t anywhere near the fastest. As the result of an underwater volcano, Japan now has a brand new island to call its very own. There’s definitely less bloodshed involved in this than in your traditional land grabbing war, though this sounds like a difficult, painstaking way to expand the reach of your empire.

Located 620 miles South of Tokyo, the eruption went down a mere 500 meters away from Nishinoshima Island, an uninhabited subtropical landmass that is part of the Bonin Islands. You’d be correct if you assumed that this bit of geological action took place on the so-called “Ring of Fire,” as the archipelago does sit on the border of the Pacific tectonic plate. The string of islands number in the thousands, and ownership of them has come in handy in previous years to bolster claims to large areas of the ocean, as well as the energy and mineral resources those waters contain, which could potentially be very lucrative. In the past, Japan has used some of these islands to back territorial disputes with China.

As you can tell from the gallery of images, this isn’t a particularly massive addition to the Japanese landscape. The whole island is approximately 200 meters in diameter. You’re not going to build any luxury resorts here or anything, but getting to see this sort of natural phenomena in action is admittedly impressive.

Wednesday the Japanese coast guard issued a warning due to thick black smoke pouring from the area. Shortly after, on Thursday, television footage began surfacing that showed the heavy smoke cloud, and the explosion of ash, rock, and steam that spilled from the newly formed crater. This is the first recorded volcanic activity in the region since the 1970s, as most of the action takes place beneath the surface of the ocean.

Because of the size and location, it is a distinct possiblity that this new island could erode away in relatively short order. Yoshihide Suga, Japans chief government spokesman, said, “”This has happened before and in some cases the islands disappeared.” Despite those chances, he’s not turning his nose up at any new space. When asked about potential names for the new island, he continued, “If it becomes a full-fledged island, we would be happy to have more territory.”

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