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Volcanic eruptions increase size of island south of Japan

An eruption of the volcanic island of Nishinoshima in 2013 formed a small adjacent island, and continual eruptions are adding mass to the new piece of geography.

By Fred Lambert

TOKYO, March 1 (UPI) -- Eruptions on an island formed from the magma of another volcano nearly two years ago are still adding size to the new land mass south of Japan.

The volcanic island of Nishinoshima, which lies over 600 miles south of Tokyo, had last erupted in the 1970s before cooled lava and magma from an underwater eruption in November 2013 created a tiny adjacent island.

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That island continued to grow until it merged with its neighbor in April 2014. At the time the newer portion had surpassed the size of the original Nishinoshima landmass and continued to expand over a year after the 2013 eruption.

In December 2014 Japanese researchers estimated that it had grown 10 times its original size, poking over 360 feet above sea level.

Recent eruptions have caused continued expansion. The Japanese coast guard, observing from the air, say the volcano is still erupting five to six times a minute, noting the new mass has grown to .94 square miles -- 52 times larger than the Tokyo Dome.

Late last year the Japanese coast guard warned ships to avoid the island, which lies in the Ogasawara Island chain, due to red magma still visible at the bottom of the crater.

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