The new baby island emerged in the southwestern Pacific Ocean, where underwater volcanoes abound. One of these submerged volcanoes woke up on September 10 spewing lava, steam and ash, according to a statement from NASA’s Earth Observatory.
Just eleven hours after the volcano began erupting, a new island had risen above the surface of the water, says NASA, which captured images of the nascent island with satellites.
The newborn island quickly grew in size, according to NASA. On September 14, researchers from the Tonga Geological Survey estimated that the island covered only 4,000 square meters, about an acre.
But by September 20, the island had grown to cover 24,000 square meters, or about 6 acres.
The new island is located on the Home Reef seamount in the Central Tonga Islands, southwest of the archipelago’s Late Island.
You may not want to get too attached to the baby island: Islands created by underwater volcanoes “are often short-lived,” NASA says. But sometimes ephemeral islands can persist for years or even decades.
The Home Reef volcano was still erupting as of Friday, according to a Facebook post from the Tonga Geological Survey. But the volcano’s activity “poses low risks to the aviation community and residents of Vava’u and Ha’apai,” two groups of islands in central Tonga.
“No visible ash was reported in the last 24 hours,” the agency added. “All boaters are advised to cruise beyond 4km away from Home Reef until further notice.” cnn