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Home https://server7.kproxy.com/servlet/redirect.srv/sruj/smyrwpoii/p2/ Science https://server7.kproxy.com/servlet/redirect.srv/sruj/smyrwpoii/p2/ One of the world's newest islands has a mystery

One of the world's newest islands has a mystery




(newser)

An underwater volcano buried a landmass near Tonga four years ago, and NASA researchers who visited the new island for the first time got a surprise. The South Pacific Island, informally called Hunga Tonga-Hunga Haapai, has "very sticky" clay mud, says researcher Dan Slayback in a NASA blog post about the October visit. "I'm still a little bit amazed at where it comes from," he says. "Because it's not ash." The researchers, who had previously studied the island only through satellite images, also discovered lots of vegetation and a decent bird volume (including a lamb floor), reports Guardian . These two things are easier to explain: The birds probably came from nearby islands, and they probably lost the seeds while flying.

"It is not at all surprising that vegetation is actually growing," the volcanologist Jess Phoenix told BBC. "It is likely to be transported by animals ̵

1; probably through bird filters – and volcanic soil is quite fertile." It is not unusual for underwater volcanoes to create small islands, but they typically disappear during weeks or months. This new island is unusual in its lifetime: Only two other islands that have "erupted" over the last century and a half have survived more than a few months. NASA had previously estimated that the island could hold for 30 years, per year. CNN, but this estimate may change after the human visit. "The island erodes by precipitation much faster than I imagined," says Slayback. (The island could give researchers an insight into Mars.)

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