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Undersea Volcano Emerges From Pacific February 12, 2010
Fukutoku-Okanoba 1986
Above: Debris from Japan's Fukutoku-Okanoba volcano soars above the surface of the Pacific near Iwo Jima. Below: Top of the volcano is reaching the ocean surface.
The Japanese Coast Guard reported that smoke from an underwater volcano near Iwo Jima was billowing from the ocean surface in an eruption that could form a permanent island.

Known as Fukutoku-Okanoba, the volcano has risen above the sea surface three times since it was first observed in 1904, but eventually disappeared within two years due to wave erosion.

In 1914, the volcano had reached about 1,000 feet in height with a circumference of about 7.5 miles.

Tokyo Institute of Technology Professor Kenji Nogami told The Yomiuri Shimbun that a seabed upheaval in 1999 significantly reduced the water depth above the volcano, meaning that the current activity could form a permanent island.

According to coast guard officials, the volcano’s latest unrest spewed ash and smoke about 300 feet into the air, and the surrounding water changed to a yellowish-green color while other parts became a cloudy gray.

Photos: Japan Coast Guard