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New Red Sea island formed

A volcanic eruption has created a new island in the Red Sea between Yemen and Eritrea.
Red sea island 2011 12 29Enlarge
An image taken by NASA’s Earth Observing-1 (EO-1) satellite on Dec. 23, 2011, shows an island, with a thick plume rising from it, where there had previously been an unbroken water surface. (NASA/Courtesy)

A volcanic eruption has created a new island in the Red Sea between Yemen and Eritrea, CNN reported.

On Dec. 19, fishermen said they saw 90-foot-tall lava fountains from an eruption, OurAmazingPlanet reported.

On Dec. 23, NASA’s Earth-Observing-1 satellite snapped a picture showing a mass of cooled lava with a plume that’s possibly volcanic ash and water vapor rising from it, CNN reported. The Global Volcanism Program estimates the island, located in the Zubair archipelago, is less one-third of a mile in diameter, according to CNN.

"I am surprised about how quickly the island has grown," Erik Klemetti, a volcanologist at Denison University in Granville, Ohio, told OurAmazingPlanet.

According to Joe Bauwens of the blog Sciency Thoughts, the eruption that created the island was the first in the Zubair archipelago since at least 1846, Discovery Magazine reported. There have been as many as 10 volcanic eruptions in the central and southern Red Sea in the past five years, CNN reported.

However, cartographers might want to hold off on updating their maps just yet.

"Many times the islands are ephemeral as they are usually made of loose volcanic debris, so they get destroyed by wave action quite quickly," Klemetti told OurAmazingPlanet.

According to CNN:

Worldwide, new islands emerge from volcanic eruptions about once every few years, and not all of them survive beyond three years, because waves can break them apart, GVP volcanologist Rick Wunderman said Thursday. It's not clear whether the new Red Sea island will last, but the material that emerges from the Red Sea typically is more structurally sound than other areas, Wunderman said.


More from GlobalPost: Is Hawaii's "gentle giant" volcano, Kilauea, a killer in waiting? (VIDEO)

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatches/globalpost-blogs/weird-wide-web/new-red-sea-island-volcano-zubair-yemen-eritrea

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