Smokin’ hot island rises up from depths of the Red Sea

Posted: 12/30/2011 in all marine news

By Brett Israel

The Red Sea has a new inhabitant: a smoking island.

The island was created by a wild eruption that occurred in the Red Sea earlier this month.

It is made of loose volcanic debris from the eruption, so it may not stick around long.

According to news reports, fishermen witnessed lava fountains reaching up to 90 feet (30 meters) tall on Dec. 19, which is probably the day the eruption began, said Erik Klemetti, a volcanologist at Denison University in Granville, Ohio.

NASA This “before” picture from Oct. 24, 2007, shows an area of the Red Sea with open water where the new island now sits.

Ash plumes were seen emanating from the spot Dec. 20 and Dec. 22 by the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer, or MODIS, on NASA’s Terra and Aqua satellites.

The Ozone Monitoring Instrument on NASA’s Aura satellite detected elevated levels of sulfur dioxide, further indicating an eruption.

By Dec. 23, what looked like a new island had appeared in the Red Sea off the west coast of Yemen.

“I am surprised about how quickly the island has grown,” Klemetti, who writes Wired’s Eruptions Blog, told OurAmazingPlanet.

The volcanic activity occurred along the Zubair Group, a collection of small islands that run in a roughly northwest-southeast line.

The islands rise from a shield volcano (a kind of volcano built from fluid lava flows) and poke above the sea surface.

Full story…

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