Mark Twain famously spoke on the importance of owning land, as ‘they’re not making any more of it.’ True story, but not these days; new land is being ‘made’ every day. Volcanic eruptions, earthquakes and erosion have been shaping the world as we know it, and Mother Earth is really keeping at it.
Along the Pacific Ring of Fire, it is not unusual for seismic and volcanic activity to create new islands frequently, although many are frequently eroded away, sunken, or merged into larger land masses. Like the Hawaiian islands which have been created by volcanic activity to become one of the most ecologically diverse ecosystems in the world, many of these new islands may one day become a paradise.So, take notes and check out these 10 fresh islands!
10. Yaya Island
Yaya Island was first sighted in September 2014, by a helicopter commander flying to a nearby military base. Upon discovery, the crew shouted “I, I discovered it!”, and thus the island was named ‘yaya’, meaning ‘I, I’ in Russian. The research vessel Admiral Vladimirsky officially explored and confirmed its existence in November of 2014.
9. Zalzala Koh
After a strong earthquake of a 7.7 magnitude hit the Arabian coast of Pakistan, a new island could be seen off of the coast. The island is only 576 feet (174.7 meters) by 528 feet (160.9 meters), and rises about 60 to 70 feet (15-20 meters) above the ocean, but has sunk over 10 feet (3 meters) since its apparition. Oceanographers believe the island was created by methane gas emission that got released during the earthquake, and they predict Zalzala Koh will eventually submerge once more.
Originally, Rosario island was a small island, made up from the tip of a dormant underwater volcano, measuring only 3130 feet (650 meters) by 656 feet (200 meters). The first eruption occurred in 1974, which both expanded and merged the island with surrounding land masses. Further volcanic eruptions began in November 2013, which increased the island’s surface to 3280 feet (1 kilometer) across.
7. Surtsey Island
Surtsey’s creation began 426 feet (130 meters) below sea level in 1963, finally reaching the surface of the water on November 14 of the same year. The eruption lasted several years, reaching a maximum size of 1 square mile (2.7 squared kilometers), but has since gradually been eroded to 0.54 square miles (1.4 squared kilometers). In 2008 it was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO due to its unique origins and ecological progression.
6. Anak Krakatau
On December 29, 1927, a lava dome erupted from the ocean between the islands of Perboewatan and Danan in the Sunda Strait, creating a new volcanic island. That island, as well as the two that followed a little while after, were rapidly eroded by the sea. A fourth island emerged in August of 1930, with lava flows too strong to be washed into the ocean.
5. Al Zubair Group Of Islands
Resting above an underwater volcanic shield in the Red Sea are a group of small, uninhabited volcanic islands. Over the years, the islands have had numerous volcanic eruptions, which have created a number of additional islands. While many of the islands provide numerous tourist attractions including volcano trekking, diving and sightseeing, the newest of the islands is still largely unexplored.
4. Banua Wuhu
Unlike the other islands on this list, Banua Wuhu is a underwater volcano in the Celbes Sea which rises over 400 meters from the sea floor and can almost reach the surface of the water, forming a shallow sandbank. Over the years it has created a number of temporary islands, which have since been eroded away by the waves. Banua Wuhu is a major diving spot for tourists and scientists alike.
3. North Frisian Barrier Island
The North Frisian Barrier Island is a unique sandbar in the North Sea that is constantly being moved and reshaped by the tide. Over the past 50 years, three distinct sandbanks have risen, but their shape and location is ever-changing. During the summer months, the sandbanks are piled several feet high with sand, but during high tide, their surface is submerged into the sea. In 2013, the sandbank Norderoogsand’s peak reached 11.5 feet (3.5 meters) and has since been labelled as a new island.
2. Ilha Nova
From September 27, 1957, to October 24, 1958, the island of Faial in the Azores experienced a series of geological events. These included two major volcanic eruptions as well as over 300 seismic events which destroyed 300 houses and forced the evacuation of over 2000 people from the area. By October 10, 1957, the lava and ash deposited by the volcanoes created a new island off the coast of Faial, that was baptized as Ilha Nova (“the New Island”) by the locals.
1. Hunga Tonga-Hunga Haʻapai
Hunga Tonga-Hunga Haʻapai was an underwater volcano lying between the islands of Hunga Tonga and Hunga Ha’pai that on March 16, 2009 erupted, creating a land mass measuring several square miles across. Beginning once more in November 2014, volcanic activity and underwater earthquakes started occurring, altering the area once more. The island is now safe for visits and locals have begun exploring its surface.