The Red Sea has a new inhabitant: a smoking island

Posted on December 29, 2011

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The island was created by a wild eruption that occurred in the Red Sea earlier this month. It is made of loose volcanic debris from the eruption, so it may not stick around long.

According to news reports, fishermen witnessed lava fountains reaching up to 90 feet (30 meters) tall on Dec. 19, which is probably the day the eruption began, said Erik Klemetti, a volcanologist at Denison University in Granville, Ohio.

Ash plumes were seen emanating from the spot  Dec. 20 and Dec. 22 by the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer, or MODIS, on NASA’s Terra and Aqua satellites. The Ozone Monitoring Instrument on NASA’s Aura satellite detected elevated levels of sulfur dioxide, further indicating an eruption. By Dec. 23, what looked like a new island had appeared in the Red Sea off the west coast of Yemen.

MSNBC

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