NASA Excited by New Mysterious Mars-Like Island Formed By Volcano

The island formed 4 years ago in the Pacific Ocean.

mysterious island
The three-year-old volcanic island (center) as seen from the SEA drone. (Woods Hole)
(Woods Hole)

A mysterious island that formed four years ago following a volcanic eruption will be a regular fixture near the nation of Tonga.

The new island is only one of three to have formed in the past 150 years and “survived the ocean’s eroding waves longer than a few months,” NASA said in a blog post.

“We were all like giddy school children,” said NASA scientist Dan Slayback after visiting the island. “Most of it is this black gravel, I won’t call it sand – pea sized gravel – and we’re mostly wearing sandals so it’s pretty painful because it gets under your foot. Immediately I kind of noticed it wasn’t quite as flat as it seems from satellite. It’s pretty flat, but there’s still some gradients and the gravels have formed some cool patterns from the wave action.”

Researchers have also found some vegetation as well as a barn owl and hundreds of nesting sooty terns.

The island, Fox News reports, is important to NASA because it might be reminiscent of Mars and how volcanic landscapes on the red rock interacted with water in ancient days.

NASA believes the island will last between 6 and 30 years.

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