Birth of new island caught on tape

7:13 AM, Nov 21, 2013   |    comments
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(CBS News) - Japan added another island to its territory on Wednesday (November 20) after an undersea volcano eruption in the southern island Ogasawara island chain led to the birth of a small new island.

Footage from Japan's coast guard shows the a 200 meter (650 feet) diameter island emerging under a plume of ash, nearby another small uninhabited island part of the chain.

Smoke from the eruption reached a height of almost 600 meters (1,960 feet) into the air.

Japan's government spokesman welcomed on Thursday (November 21) the new addition to Japan's estimated 6,000 islands, which hundreds of miles to the south would technically be part of Tokyo if it survives its eruptions.

"If our territory can expand then all the better. If this island can become a proper island, then that would indeed mean that our territory would get larger," Japanese chief cabinet secretary Yoshihide Suga told reporters.

Japanese media said that the last time an island in the area was formed was 1973-74 when the nearby island of Nishinoshima took its current shape.

Suga however said that it was still too early to start naming the island as there have been instances where newly formed islands have sunk back into the waves.

"In the past there have been these instances, but those islands caused by undersea volcano then sank again. So we will be watching to see what happens," Suga said.

CBS Newspath

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