Japan

What might happen to Japan’s newly discovered 7,000 islands

What might happen to Japan’s newly discovered 7,000 islands


Island Aerial View – New Island

According to geologists, Japan doubled in size due to a 1987 miscalculation of the archipelago.

The Geospatial Information Agency (GIA) recently discovered that the organization had incorrectly counted the number of islands in the country in a previous land survey. According to Architecture Design, GIA attributes the error count to limited technology. The new survey shows that there are 14,125 separate land masses in Japan, compared with 6,000 land masses found in past studies.

These new islands are land that formed naturally over time. GIA believes they may have existed in 1987, but geologists mistakenly grouped many of them together as one island. At the time, the Coast Guard used paper maps to locate land with a circumference of at least 328 feet.

New Islands

Photo credit: Donald Tang

new discovery without change

GIA said the discovery of the new continent would not alter the country’s territory or territorial waters. It will also not have an impact on Japan’s tourism industry. However, many are discussing what might happen to the newly discovered landmass.

In fact, most of the new islands will remain the same. Most of them were formed by volcanic eruptions, which either created new land from the ocean floor or split a larger island in half, GIA said. Currently, only 400 of Japan’s 14,000 islands are habitable.

Extreme weather conditions and uninhabitable mountainous terrain are two reasons why most of the new islands are still habitable. Additionally, many of the islands are made of volcanic ash that will erode over time, according to MIT News.

New islands are always being formed

Japan isn’t the only country noticing the emergence of new islands. In September 2022, NASA’s Earth Observatory discovered a new “baby” landmass off the coast of the Tongan archipelago. Unfortunately, NASA says the new island is unlikely to survive.

NASA told The Independent: “Islands formed by undersea volcanoes are often short-lived, but sometimes persist for years.”

The new island off Tonga sits within the Home Reef notorious for underwater volcanic eruptions. Beneath the surface, three tectonic plates collide in Home Reef, making it a hotspot for volcanic eruptions, according to NASA. Like the island of Tonga, the lifespan of the Japanese New World was unpredictable.

“An island formed by the 12-day eruption of nearby Ratjki in 2020 was washed away two months later, while an earlier island formed by the same volcano in 1995 remained for 25 years,” NASA said.



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