London: A new island is forming in the Red Sea in the Zubair archipelago resulting from a volcanic activity as lava is cooled by the surrounding seawater and solidifies.
The underwater volcano behind the formation is located on the Red Sea Rift, where the African and Arabian tectonic plates are slowly pulling apart,” New Scientist reported.
On 19 December, Yemeni fishermen first spotted lava spewing 30 metres into the air, which was later confirmed by satellite observations.
NASA’s Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer aboard its Terra and Aqua satellites and NASA’s Advanced Land Imager aboard its Earth Observing One satellite, detected ash plumes.
NASA’s Advanced Land Imager later produced the image.
The Ozone Monitoring Instrument aboard NASA’s Aura satellite also recorded elevated levels of sulphur dioxide in the region.
By 23 December, the lava mass had broken the water’s surface and the new island had begun to take shape.
The island is currently around 500m wide and is still growing.
The question now is whether or not it has staying power. It may continue to grow significantly as volcanic activity continues, or the fragile lava mass may be broken up by the action of the sea’s waves.