Disasters & Accidents

Islands near Tokyo prepare for tide of volcanic pumice stones

Tokyo, Nov 17 (EFE).- A tide of floating pumice stones formed by an underwater volcanic eruption has started to arrive at Japan’s Izu Islands where preparations are underway to prevent damage to ports, boats and marine life.

Several islands that make up the archipelago, administered by Tokyo, confirmed the arrival of small amounts of pumice, so preventive measures are being taken and containment barriers set up, local media reported Wednesday.

Pumice was spotted on the islands of Shikinejima, Miyakejima and Oshima, the latter just 120 kilometers from the Japanese capital and 25 km from the coast of the Izu peninsula.

The Tokyo government has arranged a boat in the waters of the Izu Islands to monitor the tides and possible drift, while surveillance has been strengthened in coordination with fishing communities, national broadcaster NHK reported.

Pumice stones float due to their low density and since August they have drifted on currents and accumulated in Okinawa, Kagoshima and other places in the southwest of the country.

Last month the Okinawa authorities removed tons of this volcanic rock, the accumulation of which paralyzed fishing and boating activities in ports, killed fish and damaged scores of boats.

Ferry services and tourism have also been affected.

The pumice is believed to have come from Fukutoku-Okanoba underwater volcano, located more than 1,000 kilometers from Okinawa, in the remote Ogasawara archipelago. The volcano registered a powerful eruption in August, forming a new islet in the area. EFE


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