Scientists find life on new island rising off Japan

New island off Japan coast continues growing

A Japanese Coast Guard vessel returned to Tokyo this week after surveying recently expanded volcanic island Nishinoshima.

A Nippon TV crew spent 18 days with researchers discovering the newly-minted land.

The island is now 12 times larger than when eruptions began three years ago.

Eruptions began in November 2013, enlarging an island created by lava flow in 1973.

Activity continued for about two years, and the island eventually reached an area of just over one square mile.

The eruptions slowed before coming to a halt in November 2015.

The first researchers to set foot on the island doused themselves in seawater to prevent non-native species from disturbing the ecosystem before going ashore.

The group of seven headed to a research point, and found birds already making a home there.

A surprising discovery of plant life was also made.  The surrounding seas are also bustling with life. Dolphins flock here, feeding on abundant fish stocks in the area.

The Coast Guard's main purpose was to make a nautical chart of the island to expand Japan's exclusive economic zone.

It should be ready in about six months.

 


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