New volcano island in Japan ‘natural lab’ for life

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New volcano island in Japan ‘natural lab’ for life


A brand new island emerging off the coast of Japan offers scientists a rare opportunity to study how life begins to colonize barren land. The newly created Nishinoshima island is 1,000 kilometers south of Tokyo and is part of the Ogasawara island chain. With an area of 2.46 square kilometers (0.95 square miles) – roughly the size of 345 football pitches – it is currently almost all bare rock, formed from cooling lava. Scientists believe the island will one day be humming with plant – and possibly animal – life, as nature moves in to what is being called a “natural laboratory.” Bird waste will be the secret ingredient that will kickstart Mother Nature’s grand experiment, researchers say.

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