December 30, 2011
A new island has appeared off the west coast of Yemen following a volcanic eruption, Nasa has announced.
The US space agency's Earth Observatory posted satellite photos showing a plume of white smoke rising from the ocean near the Zubair group of islands in the Red Sea on Dec 23.
"The image from December 2011 shows an apparent island where there had previously been an unbroken water surface," the observatory said in a statement.
"A thick plume rises from the island, dark near the bottom and light near the top, perhaps a mixture of volcanic ash and water vapour."
New islands are created by undersea volcanoes every few years, but many are not strong enough to withstand the wind and waves of the open sea, volcanologist Rick Wunderman told CNN on Thursday.
He added, however, that the volcanic material in the Red Sea tends to be more durable.