Fire and ice

Fire and ice

Japan may be getting bigger as an underwater volcano creates a small new island. Meanwhile, the Pine Island Glacier is definitely smaller after a huge chunk broke off.

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A Japan Coast Guard handout photo taken on November 20, 2013 shows smoke rising from a new islet created by a volcanic eruption in southern Japan (Japan Coast Guard/AFP, Japan Coast Guard)

Fire and ice

Japan may be getting bigger as a dramatic underwater volcanic eruption is creating – at least temporarily – a new islet.

The navy spotted smoke about 1,000 kilometres south of Tokyo on Wednesday and Japan's coastguard later verified the birth of the islet around the Ogasawara island chain.

Video footage showed plumes of smoke and ash billowing from the 200-metre island, and Japan's coastguard said it was warning vessels to use caution in the area until the eruption cools off.

"Smoke is still rising from the volcanic island, and we issued a navigation warning to say that this island has emerged with ash falling in the area," said a spokesman for the maritime agency.

He added that the islet may not last long due to erosion, but if enough volcanic lava surfaces and solidifies it could mark a new entry on the map.

Similar eruptions in the early 1970s and mid-80s created tiny islets in Japan's territory that have since been partially or completely eaten up by the ocean.

Aerial view of Manhattan looking north over the Lower East Side (foreground), 01 July 2007, in New York City. (STAN HONDA/AFP)

Meanwhile, far away in Antarctica, an iceberg the size of New York City's Manhattan island has broken off the Pine Island Glacier.

Scientists have been watching the area for more than two years since a crack first appeared. The separation finally occurred last July. 

“An iceberg that size could survive for a year or longer and it could drift a long way north in that time and end up in the vicinity of world shipping lanes in the Southern Ocean,” said Dr Robert Marsh, from the University of Southampton.
Adapted from AFP agency stories

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  • ash: the grey powder that remains after something has burned - เถ้าถ่าน, ขี้เถ้
  • billow: to spread over a large area - ทำให้พอง
  • caution: careful thought and lack of hurry in order to try to avoid risks or danger - ความระมัดระวัง
  • chain: a series of connected things or people - โซ่
  • coast guard: a military organisation that watches for ships in danger and works to prevent illegal activities on the ocean - ยามชายฝั่ง
  • crack: a line on a surface where something is beginning to break apart - รอยแตก  รอยร้าว
  • dramatic: sudden, very great and often surprising - ตื่นเต้นเร้าใจ
  • drift: to move slowly, often as a result of outside forces, with no control over direction - ล่องลอย,เลื่อนลอย
  • due to: because of - เนื่องจาก
  • emerge: to start to exist; to appear - เกิดขึ้น
  • erosion: gradually destroying the surface of something through the action of wind, rain, etc; to be gradually destroyed in this way - การกัดกร่อน,การเซาะ
  • footage: film or video of a particular subject or event - ฟิลม์หรือคลิปภาพยนตร์ หรือวิดีโอ
  • glacier: a large mass of ice which moves slowly - ธารน้ำแข็ง
  • iceberg (noun): an extremely large mass of ice floating in the sea - ภูเขาน้ำแข็ง
  • islet (noun): a very small island - เกาะแก่งเล็กๆ
  • issue: to announce something officially - ออกประกาศ
  • lava: hot liquid rock that comes out of a volcano - ลาวา, หินหลอมละลายที่ถูกพ่นจากปล่องภูเขาไฟ
  • maritime: connected with human activity at sea; near the sea or coast - ทางทะเล, เกี่ยวกับทะเล
  • meanwhile: at the same time - ในเวลาเดียวกัน
  • navigation (noun): the process of finding a path or direction to get somewhere - การนำทาง
  • partially: in part, but not completely - บางส่วน
  • plume: a tall, thin mass of smoke, dust or similar substance, that rises up into the air -
  • separation (noun): the act of separating/dividing people or things; the state of being separate - การแยกออก
  • solidify: to become or to make something become more definite and less likely to change - ทำให้มั่นคงแข็งแรง, ทำให้แข็งตัว
  • spot: to see or notice - สังเกตเห็น
  • surface (verb): to come up to the surface of water - โผล่ขึ้นมาที่พื้นผิว, ปรากฏบนพื้นผิว
  • survive: to continue to exist - อยู่รอด  สืบต่อไปได้
  • temporarily: only for a limited time; not permanent - ชั่วคราว
  • verify: to prove that something is true, or to make certain that something is correct - พิสูจน์ว่าเป็นความจริง
  • vessel: a boat or ship - เรือ
  • vicinity: an area near a particular place - บริเวณใกลเคียง
  • volcanic eruption: explosion of a mountain with a large circular hole at the top - การระเบิดภูเขาไฟ
  • warn: to make someone aware of a possible problem or danger - เตือน

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