An underwater volcano is erupting out of the sea and has given birth to Japan's newest island. The volcano-spawned, baby land mass is about 660 feet in diameter and is located some 600 miles south of Tokyo.
Sadly, there's a possibility this little critter might just be temporary. There have been islands in the past that arose and then were quickly eroded away and that's why Japanese officials are being guarded and not getting too attached to this one.
Here's a video of the new island's birth:
"This has happened before and in some cases the islands disappeared," Yoshihide Suga, Japan's chief cabinet secretary, told the AP when asked about naming the island. "If it becomes a full-fledged island, we would be happy to have more territory," Suga added.
When Suga says "full-fledged island", he probably means an island that will be on earth permanently. Erosion can whittle away at an island until it ceases to exist. The BBC is reporting that the last time a volcano formed a "full-fledged island" was in the 1970s. "Similar eruptions in the early 1970s and mid-80s created tiny islets in Japan's territory that have since been partially or completely eaten up by the ocean," the AFP reported.
This past September, an earthquake in Pakistan spawned a new island off the country's coast in the Arabian Sea. Experts there also warned that that island might not even last a year.
Scientists confirmed the new Japanese island on Thursday, and the coast guard had been sending out warnings since Wednesday of heavy black ash in the area. "Smoke is still rising from the volcanic island, and we issued a navigation warning to say that this island has emerged with ash falling in the area," a spokesman for the Japanese Navy said.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.