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December 26, 2013

World's Newest Island, Niijima, Keeps Growing

by VOA News

Japan’s newest island, Niijima, has tripled in size since it was first seen on November 20, according to the Japan Meteorological Agency.

Niijma was born of volcanic activity along the western edge of the Pacific “Ring of Fire.” It is located about 1,000 kilometers south of Tokyo and 130 kilometers from the nearest inhabited island in waters considered part of Japanese territory.

​​The new island sits very near Nishino-shima, another volcanic island that last erupted and expanded in 1973–74. The latest images of the two islands taken by a NASA satellite on December 24, show the two islands almost touching.

Scientists from the Japan Meteorological Agency think the island is large enough to survive for at least several years, if not permanently. By early December, it had grown to 56,000 square meters, about three times its initial size. It stands 20 to 25 meters above the sea level.

Here are some video clips taken by the Japanese Coast Guard earlier this month.