2013 has been a banner year for volcanoes.
It all started off, quite literally, with a series of bangs from the Kamchatka Peninsula in Siberia, where four volcanoes erupted simultaneously, garnering the attention of a group of photographers who documented the event online. Later on, scientists purported to have found a supervolcano under the Pacific Ocean that rivals Olympus Mons on Mars. Then, an earthquake in Pakistan violently birthed a “flammable and temporary” island off the country’s coast.
But if that wasn’t enough to satiate your volcanic appetite, an eruption took place Wednesday in the Pacific Ocean near Japan, spewing the typical debris—ash and rocks—and creating yet another new island.
Actually, the island is more of an islet, a comparatively small landmass about 660 feet across. Its location places it in the company of 30 other islands, comprising the Ogasawara chain. Like the Kamchatka volcanoes, the Ogasawara islands lie on part of the Ring of Fire, a seismically active, 40,000 kilometer region on which three-quarters of the world’s volcanoes sit.
As of yet, it is impossible to say whether or not the island will last, although as The Guardian reports, the government is already psyched about the possibility of new land. “If it becomes a full-fledged island, we would be happy to have more territory,” said Yoshihide Suga, the country’s chief cabinet secretary.
Of course, volcanoes are responsible for many islands worldwide, but we don't tend to think of them producing new islands in our lifetimes. It's not uncommon; in 1973 and 1974, a new island, named Nishinoshima-shinto, was formed by the eruption of the volcanic island Nishinoshima. However, it has since eroded quite substantially.