A new island that has been forming off the coast of Japan will be marked on the national map, scientists confirmed yesterday (December
10th ) as it is now such a size that it will likely remain intact for years.
According to Japan's meteorological agency, the landmass could be set to be a permanent fixture off of the nation's coast.
"As the volcanic eruption is still continuing, we don't know the fate of the island," said agency official Tomoyuki Kano.
"But it won't disappear in days or weeks, and will probably last for several years unless a huge volcanic eruption happens and blows it apart," he said.
Mr Kano's comments come despite scepticism from much of the media and scientific community during the first days of the island's formations that the newly created landmass would hang around for very long, with the government even declining to name it.
However, as of December 4th when the last survey was taken, the island had grown to more than three and a half times its original size, reaching 0.056 square kilometres.
Mr Kano reminded reporters that the islet is still continuing to grow, adding that there is the infrequent "wisp of smoke and some ash, and occasionally there is lava belching forth".
The formation of the island in uncontested waters was first noticed in late November when the Japanese coast
guard spotted a large plume of white smoke.
Several similar landmasses were formed in the 1970s and mid 1980s, although these were less explosive in nature and have since been submerged partially or completely by the ocean.
The Japanese government is on record as saying it welcomes any new islands that will allow it to expand its territory.
Whether the landmass will eventually become fit for habitation and tourist visitation like some of its counterparts, however, is impossible to tell. Written by Mark Smith