When the eruption of a volcano on November 21st, 2013, resulted in a brand new island about a thousand kilometers south of Japan's capital Tokyo, experts were a little hesitant to declare that a permanent new landmass had been born. That's because these kind of volcanic islands have a tendency to disappear almost as rapidly, as they appear.
However a few months later, when the newly-born island that rose a mere 60-80 feet (18-24 meters), above the ocean had tripled in size and shown no signs of disappearing, the experts decided it was here to stay and even gave it a name - Niijima or 'new island'. The simple name seemed to reflect the fact that Japanese meteorologists did not quite believe that the tiny island would last more than a few years.
Once again they were wrong. Turns out that the newly born volcanic baby is determined to stay put. Not only has it continued to grow on its own, but it has also managed to swallow up its neighbor, Nishino-Shima - a larger, older landmass that was created in 1973-74 by an eruption in the Izu-Bonin-Mariana, the same arc system that created Niijima.
Satellite images taken by NASA's Earth Observatory on March 30th, show that the two islands now form a landmass that measures 3,280 feet across (1,000 meters). Not only that, it has also tripled in height since December, and now stands a tall 196 feet (60 meters) above sea level.
And that may not be the extent of the baby island's growth - With plumes of ash continuing to rise on the southern portion of the new landmass, there is a strong possibility that it may continue to keep extending out and someday, maybe even make an appearance on the World Atlas! Go Niijima!
Resources: livescience.com,news.yahoo.com, earthobservatory.nasa.com