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Stunning Pictures: Japan's New Volcanic Island

New volcano island off Japan
A new volcanic island, called Nishino-shima, emerged from the ocean on Nov. 20, 2013. (Image credit: Japanese Coast Guard)

Birth of a new island

New Japan island

(Image credit: Japanese Coast Guard)

A new island appeared in the Pacific Oceans about 620 miles (1,000 km) south of Tokyo on Nov. 20. The spectacular volcanic eruption boiled the sea and shot lava fragments into the air. The Japanese Coast Guard captured pictures of the island's birth from the air.

Before the eruption

Nishino-shima

(Image credit: Japanese Coast Guard)

Nishino-shima island on Nov. 16, 2011. Discolored water surrounds the island, but no signs of an impending eruption.

First look

New Japan island

(Image credit: Japanese Coast Guard)

Roiling waters appeared as the island rose above the sea on Nov. 20.

Big blasts

New Japan island

(Image credit: Japanese Coast Guard)

Ash and tephra, the term for solid fragments ejected by a volcano, shoot into the sky on Nov. 20.

Boom!

japan volcano island

(Image credit: Japanese Coast Guard)

A closer look at the ongoing volcanic eruption at Nishino-shima volcano.

Watching from above

New Japan island

(Image credit: Japanese Coast Guard)

The new island was about 650 feet (200 m) wide and 980 feet (300 m) long on Nov. 21, the Japanese Coast Guard reported.

The new addition

japan volcano island

(Image credit: Japanese Coast Guard)

The black cone is the newest member of the Bonin Islands, also called the Ogasawara Islands, a volcanic chain that includes Iwo Jima.

Becky Oskin
Becky Oskin covers Earth science, climate change and space, as well as general science topics. Becky was a science reporter at Live Science and The Pasadena Star-News; she has freelanced for New Scientist and the American Institute of Physics. She earned a master's degree in geology from Caltech, a bachelor's degree from Washington State University, and a graduate certificate in science writing from the University of California, Santa Cruz.