Jebel Zubair volcano is a shield volcano forming the island of the same name in the Red Sea. Measuring 5 km in length, it is the largest of a group of 10 small volcanic islands and shoals known as the Zubair archipelago, which includes the Zubair, Centre Peak, Saba, and Haycock islands.
A new eruption in Dec 2011 was first reported on 19 Dec 2011. The eruption lasted until mid January 2012 and produced a new island immediately NW of Rugged Island.
The new island seen on January 15, 2012 (NASA Earth Obbservatory)
Comparison of NASA images of the same island at different stages
It appears from the latest NASA satellite images that the eruption that has formed the new island has ended, leaving an impressive new elongated island about 1000 m long and 500 m wide just 500 m NNW of Rugged Island in the Zubair archipelago. ...more
The island, whose name yet needs to be published, belongs to Yemen. If it consists of sufficiently large quantities of hard lava flows instead of loose ash and scoria, it will probably resist wave eruption long enough to become a permanent feature in the archipelago, but it will certainly take some time before it can possibly be inhabited (if anyone wants to live there anyway...). [më pak]
The new island in the Red Sea on 7 Jan 2012 (NASA Earth Observatory)
New images were released from NASA, showing the rapid growth of a new island in the Zubair archipelago in the Red Sea. ...more
This new satellite image, acquired January 7, 2012, suggests that the eruption has risen nearly completely above water. A plume of steam, other volcanic gases, and ash spews from a distinct cone. The land surrounding the vent has grown, and is now about 530 by 710 meters (1,700 by 2,300 feet) across. Once above water, past eruptions in the Zubair Islands were primarily effusive, with relatively runny lava forming thin lava flows. In contrast to the fragmented rock that forms when lava interacts directly with water, lava that solidifies on land is tough, so this new island is likely to be permanent. [më pak]
Surtseyan eruption at the newly formed island in the Red Sea
A new dramatic video of the recent volcanic eruption in the Red Sea in the Zubayr group of islands west of Jemen has emerged on youtube. The video was taken from a military helicopter and shows the newly-born island in the highly explosive phase, when magma in contact with sea water lead to very strong steam and ash explosions (so-called surtseyan activity), producing huge ash and steam clouds. Unfortunately, the date of the video is not specified, but it is probably from around 22-23 December.
The new island in the Red Sea seen on 23 Dec 2011 (NASA Earth Observatory)
The same area with no island before
NASA satellite images show that the eruption in the Red Sea in the Zubair archipelago has produced a new island. The island is circular, about 500 m wide and located about 1 km north of Rugged Island. It consists of fresh probably basaltic lava flows and an active vent seems to be in its center. ...more
A large steam plume, generated by evaporating sea water at the entry of lava flows into the sea is seen on the satellite image, drifting north. The island has apparently passed through an explosive Surtseyan phase very quickly, probably because the erupting basalt lava was poor in gas and because the output rate was high, so that the vent could be sealed from water access in short time. [më pak]
MODIS thermal image of the area of the reported eruption (the Zubair islands are in the center). No hot spot is visible, which could indicate either the eruption was extremely short and small, or there was another cause of the report.
Graphic from VAAC Toulouse showing the location of the reported steam plume above Jebel Zubair in the Red Sea
More sources are emerging, confirming that in fact an eruption seems to have taken place: Aref Hamoud, a reader from Yemen confirms us the original report, that an eruption happened on 19 Dec on "Saba Island Coordinates: (Lat. 15° 5'13.38"N Long. 42° 9'10.12"E)", and that people in the area could feel a quake associated with it that day. [më pak]
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