Eruption creates new island in Red Sea
December 29th, 2011
02:49 PM ET

Eruption creates new island in Red Sea

The Red Sea appears to have a tiny new island, courtesy of an underwater eruption.

The island - essentially lava that cooled after breaking through the water's surface - began forming this month between Yemen and Eritrea among the Zubair archipelago, a group of small islands that come from a submarine shield volcano, according to NASA and the Smithsonian Institution’s Global Volcanism Program.

NASA’s Earth-Observing-1 satellite captured an image (above) showing the new mass with a plume - perhaps volcanic ash and water vapor - rising from it on December 23, NASA’s Earth Observatory website says. The island appeared to be less than one-third of a mile in diameter, according to the Global Volcanism Program.

The image came four days after local news reports said fishermen saw an eruption in the sea, with lava rising up to 90 feet in the air, according to NASA.

The shield volcano from which the Zubair islands stem (the largest of which is 5 kilometers long) last erupted in the 19th century, according to the Global Volcanism Program.

Wordwide, new islands emerge from volcanic eruptions about once every few years, and not all of them survive beyond three years, because waves can break them apart, GVP volcanologist Rick Wunderman said Thursday. It's not clear whether the new Red Sea island will last, but the material that emerges from the Red Sea typically is more structurally sound than other areas, Wunderman said.

"That's usually the (material) that you see in the Red Sea - not so rich in gasses, more able to withstand waves and storms," he said.

People looking for an island getaway might want to keep searching, though. "It'd be hard to live there," Wunderman said. "(Fresh) water, safe harbor, all that kind of stuff would be really quite the challenge."

Wunderman said the central to southern Red Sea has seen plenty of volcanic activity recently, with as many as 10 eruptions in the past five years.

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Filed under: Volcano • Yemen
soundoff (162 Responses)
  1. Joey Isotta-Fraschini

    I would call this "birth of an island". As people, all things have a beginning and an end. This little island has had its beginning. No doubt,it will have its end one day. Can you imagine what our human decendants will look like in 50 million years? Our brains will comprise of about 20% of our bodies. We will use mental thelepathy, and we will have a shell to protect our bodies' head. Evolution is so fascinating.

    December 29, 2011 at 7:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jeff Frank (R-Ohio) "The Lunatic Fringe'"

      Quite frankly (pardon the pun) Joey, if you get the idea 50 million years from now everyone will have thier head up thier ass, I'd say they got a pretty good start on that one right now. ;O

      December 29, 2011 at 8:12 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Little Susie

    DEaR mR. EvoLUshun. ANd tHanKs foR LoVe aND FeeLingS. HOw wE cRY aT WeDDinGs AND FUneraLs. WHen eVEn aN eNemieS cHiLD iS preCIous. AnD wE CAn foGiVe. YoU MaDE uS spEshuL. Ty, luV Susie.

    December 29, 2011 at 8:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jeff Frank (R-Ohio) "The Lunatic Fringe'"

      Ooooh I get it....the way you word your sentences like cut out letters from newspapers and magazines, to put together some sort of unidentifiable note or threat to someone. GET LOST YOU LITTLE TWIP. CNN ALREADY HAS YOUR I.P. ADDRESS WHETHER YOU LIED ABOUT YOUR EMAIL ADDRESS AND SCREEN NAME OR NOT.

      December 29, 2011 at 8:20 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Campagnolo

    Im going to the island grow a tree make a snake take a rib make me a eve eat a apple sin with eve and start it all overagain ( the sinning with eve) !!!!

    December 29, 2011 at 8:11 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Campagnolo

    It makes me absolutly sick when someone uses such degrading language to beat down others . It shows the weakness of the sick one if you are that way imagine what your parents are like!!! If you ever knew them ,i do not support such people in society if i do and dont know it, than you had better stay away from my neighborhood, i dont know you and dont care to you are a totall wast of genetics, imagine everybody how this individual was raised

    December 29, 2011 at 8:26 pm | Report abuse |
  5. banasy©

    Not JIF© at 7:58.
    I have a feeling I know who it is, but why this person would *try* and troll somebody so much more intelligent than himself is beyond me.

    December 29, 2011 at 8:37 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Campagnolo

    @nsaidiplease check out the duraogtory statement on this blog using the N word to assault african americans

    December 29, 2011 at 8:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • John

      Which part of Africa, are these african americans from?

      January 18, 2012 at 1:44 pm | Report abuse |
  7. banasy©

    Hello, jeff frank.
    Happy New Year.
    I hope your wife and family is doing fine.

    December 29, 2011 at 8:48 pm | Report abuse |
  8. banasy©

    That's not chrissy at 8:40, either.
    I *know* chrissy, and this ain't her.

    December 29, 2011 at 8:50 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Compagyeslo

    @Compagnolo. Or we could learn the lesson. What if you went to the island, got yourself a rib-girl, and when she started bs'ing you, rather than doing it her way you grab her by the arm and drag her in front of Grandpa. "What's this you have given me? Bone of my bones or aches in them? Is it ok if I go ahead and invent wine now?"–alternate Adam. Your choice.

    December 29, 2011 at 9:47 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Nuh

    Will the real Chrissy please stand up?

    December 29, 2011 at 9:56 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Cam

    If people can't tell the difference between the trolls and the actual posters, people shouldn't post. Make a person look stupid explaining philosophy to a troll. Funny as hell for the rest of us, though

    December 29, 2011 at 10:02 pm | Report abuse |
  12. 1980's Manhattan Beach, CA

    To drive retired folks from their ocean front property being eyed by real estate developers, couples who had lived in the same house since the 1930s began to be charged an Ocean View tax. Not covered by fixed incomes.

    December 29, 2011 at 10:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • Nuh

      So these folks would have a Lava View Tax? 🙂

      December 29, 2011 at 10:29 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Cam


    Yemen got a new island. Yaaaay!

    December 29, 2011 at 10:20 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Brigadier Crawypaws

    To the 'thing' making the racial slurs on this blog! Your kind proves that 'evolution' is not responsible for mans existence. Who the heck would make DUMB arches like yourself! Truly people who are racist really are DUMB!!!!

    December 29, 2011 at 11:07 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Dany

    everyone should look up this video

    December 29, 2011 at 11:15 pm | Report abuse |
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