New Pacific Island is formed as underwater volcano erupts

Earlier this month, a new island was born in the Pacific. 

It was no boundary adjustment but it originated from an underwater volcano near the island of Tonga, which slowly oozed lava until it began to peek out from beneath the waves. The island quickly grew from just one acre of solid ground to eight acres in just a few weeks. The volcano that birthed the island is part of the Home Reef seamount and started putting out lava on September 10, says NASA’s Earth Observatory. 

What’s its size now? 

According to the Tonga Geological Services, the newborn island reached a size of 8.6 acres stretching up to 50 feet above sea level by September 19. Unfortunately, the island isn’t unique – the Home Reef region of volcanoes acted up in 1852, 1857, 1984, and 2006, producing islands each year. And like its predecessors, the new Island is not expected to be around for long (estimated to be around for 30 years)

How do you mean? 

The islands produced by volcanic activity like this are generally short-lived, falling back under the ocean within years. The newborn has some hope, though – one distant ancestor created by the nearby Late’iki Volcano lasted for 25 years, a long life for a tiny rock in the world’s biggest ocean. 

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