Submarine Eruption Leads to Formation of New Red Sea Islands

Kenneth WingerterBy Kenneth Wingerter 4 years ago
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Finding the right time, place and circumstances to observe the formation of a new island is pretty difficult. For one, it just doesn’t happen very often. It may occur in an inaccessible area. And, conditions in the water may quite dangerous. We recently reported on research of a newly formed island off of the coast of Japan. Now, researchers and videographers have been granted yet another such opportunity with volcanic events taking place beneath the Red Sea. A pair of six-mile-long and half-mile-wide troughs in the Earth’s crust have been spewing magma–creating new land–for weeks after a powerful submarine eruption. The result is a fresh land mass in the Zubair archipelago near Yemen. Scientists from King Abdullah University of Science and Technology of Saudi Arabia used satellite and video data to monitor the volcanic activity. The new islands have been given the names Sholan Island and Jadid Island. However, they won’t last very long–at least on a geological scale of time. Even the relatively mild wave action of the Red Sea is capable of causing considerable erosion. Judging from the rates observed in this area, both islands are expected to be leveled within a few hundred years. To view video and satellite imagery of the two islands published in Nature Communications please visit: http://www.nature.com/ncomms/2015/150526/ncomms8104/full/ncomms8104.html.

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Kenneth Wingerter
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