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New volcanic island continues to grow, may merge with neighbor


New volcanic island continues to grow, may merge with neighborThe newest Japanese island is growing up ... and out.
The new volcanic island was first seen rising from the waves on Nov. 20 and has now expanded to within less than 100 meters of its neighbor, Nishinoshima in the Ogasawara island chain. What's more, the Mainichi Shimbun learned from observations taken from its Kibo news aircraft on Dec. 20, the volcano continues to spew large amounts of lava.

"If this type of growth continues, it's possible that the new islet will fuse with Nishinoshima within the year," commented Fukashi Maeno, an assistant professor of volcanic geology with the University of Tokyo's Earthquake Research Institute, who accompanied the Mainichi expedition.

Hot lava could be seen pouring continuously from the islet's western and northern sides during the fly-over, with large plumes of steam rising from the waterline as the molten rock flowed into the ocean waves. In the middle of the island, bright red lava was seen bursting from a volcanic vent around 10 meters in diameter. Smoke and ash were also pitched into the air a little more than once a minute, accompanied by a loud roar.
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