The Red Sea begged Santa for months for a brand new island, and lo-and-behold, the jolly man caused an underwater eruption that formed a new piece of land in the middle of the Red Sea.
According to CNN, the island, which is basically a mass of lava that cooled once it broke through the water’s surface, was formed after a submarine shield volcano which has formed several small islands in the area between Yemen and Eritrea, erupted. The last time the volcano erupted was in the 19th century.
The island, which is less than a third of a mile in diameter, was first spotted by a group of fisherman who said they saw lava shooting 90 feet into the air from the ocean’s surface. After the initial reports, the island was spotted by NASA’s Earth-Observing-1 satellite on December 23rd.
CNN reports that new islands are formed every few years, but some are destroyed by waves. GVP volcanologist Rick Wunderman said that he believes that the new island in the Red Sea will survive, although it may never be inhabitable.
“That’s usually the (material) that you see in the Red Sea – not so rich in gasses, more able to withstand waves and storms… It’d be hard to live there. (Fresh) water, safe harbor, all that kind of stuff would be really quite the challenge.”
The New Scientists reports that the island may be small at the moment, but as volcanic activity continues it will continue to grow.