Niijima: New Pictures of the World’s Newest Island

December 18, 2013 Updated: July 18, 2015

Niijima, the world’s newest island, formed after a volcanic eruption along the western edge of the “Ring of Fire” in the Pacific Ocean.

The new island is about 600 miles south of Tokyo.

NASA released new natural-color pictures of the island showing three different perspectives that were captured by satellite and the Japanese Coast Guard.

“The water around the island is discolored by volcanic minerals and gases and by seafloor sediment stirred up by the ongoing volcanic eruption,” NASA says. “The faint white puffs above the center and southwest portion of the island are likely steam and other volcanic gases associated with the eruption.”

(Japan Coast Guard)

New Island in the Ring of Fire

(NASA’s Earth Observing-1 satellite)

Niijima rose up after the volcanic eruption on November 20. It’s close to Nishino-shima, an island that popped up in 1973.

While at first scientists thought that the island might sink back down, scientists from the Japan Meteorological Agency now believe the island will probably survive for at least a couple years, if not permanently. 

“By early December, Niijima had grown to 56,000 square meters (13.8 acres), about three times its initial size,” according to NASA. “It stands 20 to 25 meters (65 to 82 feet) to  above the sea level.”

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