When we think of volcanoes we usually think of destruction, but did you know they can also construct new islands? In this article you can learn how islands are formed, how they can change, and how life arrives there.
How islands form in the ocean
An underwater volcano - usually the result of a continent sinking under the sea – erupts, shooting lava, ash and different stones into the air. Since the water is much cooler than lava, it cools and hardens, creating more sea floor. As this process continues the volcano slowly builds up to reach past sea level. Years later it can erupt again, and the island will continue to grow.
How natural disasters in the ocean can change islands and their shores
Earthquakes or volcanic eruptions can change the way islands appear. For example, an earthquake changed the shores of Alaska in 1964. It was so destuctive that it caused buildings to collapse and landslides to block the roads. This event made land rise and sink. Some parts of the coast sank so low that boats became stranded above the new shore.
On November 15, 1963, an island called Surtsey came up from the sea near Iceland. It was the result of an erupting underwater volcano. In just a few days, it was 197 feet high and more than 3 miles long.
How life gets to these new islands
There are multiple ways life can arrive at a new island. It can travel by air on the wings of flying insects or birds. Floating logs also bring different kinds of life such as crabs, snails and lizards. Seeds can float on water for thousands of miles and still grow once they reach land!
Volcanoes can create islands, other forces can change islands, and life can travel to islands. Now we know that volcanoes don't just destroy, they can also build a new place of life!
Guide To Oceans