27 December 2011


New island born from volcanic eruption. Credit: NASA Earth Observatory.

Imagine coming across what some fishers in the Red Sea observed on 19 December—fountains of lava bursting from the surface of the water 30 meters/90 feet into the air.

... Followed four days later by the birth of a new island.

Plate boundaries and volcanoes of Africa. Blue arrow marks location of new island near mouth of Red Sea. Credit: USGS map, modified.

The volcanic activity occurred among the Zubair Group of small islands off the west coast of Yemen. From the Earth Observatory page:

Running in a roughly northwest-southeast line, the islands poke above the sea surface, rising from a shield volcano. This region is part of the Red Sea Rift where the African and Arabian tectonic plates pull apart and new ocean crust regularly forms.

Zubair Group on 24 October 2007. Credit: NASA Earth Observatory.
And here's what the Zubair Group looked like before the birth of the solstice island.
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