(ORDO NEWS) — A new island has appeared in the southwest Pacific Ocean. This young patch of land emerged from a seabed ridge that is teeming with the highest density of underwater volcanoes on the planet. It is known as the Home Reef Seamount, stretching between New Zealand and Tonga.
Starting in September 2022, one of the volcanoes on the ridge came to life and erupted, filling with lava that poured into the surrounding ocean and lifted voluminous plumes of ash smoke into the air.
Subsequently, a completely new island was formed on the spot. The NASA Operational Land Imager-2 (OLI-2) operational camera was able to capture it in the pictures.
The birth of the island
Initial measurements collected on September 14 showed that the island has an area of about 13,1064 square kilometers or one acre, and a height of 33 meters above sea level. But by September 20, the small booming island had grown to nearly 79,248 square kilometers, or six acres.
The volcanic activity that spawns the islands is not surprising, given the position of the Home Reef Seamount in the Tonga-Kermadec subduction zone, where three tectonic plates converge on each other in a slow collision.
Among this trinity is the giant Pacific Plate, which has an area of about 64 million square kilometers and is the largest tectonic plate in the world.
Due to its enormous proportions, subduction means that the Pacific Plate is gradually subducting under two other lighter plates that are colliding, and in the process, one of the deepest trenches on Earth on the seabed, known as the Kermadec Trench, is gaping, as well as an active volcanic arc. The Kermadean is right behind him.
The fate of the island
Unfortunately, this baby, in all likelihood, will not stay here for long. NASA warns that islands created by underwater volcanoes tend to be short-lived.
But there are some exceptions, such as one island, created from the nearby volcano of Lateica in 1995, which lasted a full 25 years – although this is not very long from a geological point of view.
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