Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Pumice Island Floating in the Pacific

The Pumice Island and ash shore from space.  Click to Enlarge.  Image from NASA.
The New Zealand Navy discovered a new, temporary island floating in the Pacific Ocean.  The "island" is floating because the new geographic oddity is a collection of ash and pumice rock, which floats easily due to its lightweight caused by magma quickly be cooled by water. The island span an area of 300 miles (480 km) by 30 miles (48 km).

Scientists were confused as they could not find a reason for the islands existence.  After some investigation it seems that the underwater volcano Havre Seamount erupted and belched out the rock and ash.  The island isn't solid so it should not pose trouble to ship traffic.  In fact, it is believed that pumice can aid in the replenishment of coral reefs.

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