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Emerging Red Sea Island: Earth Image of the Week January 20, 2012
Satellite Image of Red Sea islands.
A plume of steam can be seen flowing north-northwestward above a dense plume of volcanic ash.
A new volcanic island is forming in the southern Red Sea, about 40 miles off the coast of Yemen.

An eruption that was first reported by fishermen in mid-December eventually spewed enough material from beneath the sea bed to create a small patch of dry ground that emerged above the sea surface.

The eruption was in the northern edge of the Zubair Islands, and at one time was producing a fountain of lava about 100 feet tall, according to the fishermen.

The Zubair Islands comprise a group of 10 major volcanic islands that are above an underlying shield volcano. It has erupted many times during recorded history.

Lava from a fiery eruption of a volcano on nearby Jabal al-Tair (Bird Mountain) island killed nine people in September 2007.

The image to the upper right of the volcanic island chain was taken by NASA’s Earth Observing-1 satellite on January 7, 2012.

It shows a plume of both steam and ash flowing north-northwestward from the volcano’s growing crater.

The enlarged version also has an image taken a week later, when steam and ash were no longer rising above the new island.

As of January 12, the new island had grown to about 1,700 to 2,300 feet across.

Full story and image: NASA