Saturday, April 20, 2019
Contact us    |    Advertise    |   Help    |   Cookie Policy    |   Privacy Policy    RSS icon Twitter icon Facebook icon
    Home  ·  News  ·  Forum  ·  Stories  ·  Image Gallery  ·  Columns  ·  Encyclopedia  ·  Videos
Find: in

Mystery mud appears on newly-formed island


Posted on Tuesday, 5 February, 2019 | Comment icon 3 comments

Plants have already started to take hold on the island. Image Credit: NASA / Dan Slayback
A Pacific island that rose from the sea around three years ago has already been colonized by plants and birds.
Formed through volcanic processes in the ocean surrounding Tonga, the island has been of particular interest to scientists because it is one of the few new islands in the last 150 years to have lasted more than a few months, thus providing a unique opportunity for study.

Now, for the first time, NASA scientists have actually visited the island in person, revealing that seeds have already begun to grow there and colonies of birds have already started to roost.

Most intriguing of all was the discovery of a strange clay-like mud which has so far managed to defy explanation as it is unclear what it is made of or where it is coming from.

"In the satellite images, you see this light-colored material," said NASA's Dan Slayback. "It's mud, this light-coloured clay mud. It's very sticky. So even though we'd seen it we didn't really know what it was, and I'm still a little baffled of where it's coming from. Because it's not ash."

By studying the island's progress over the next few years, it will be possible to get a better understanding of how life takes hold on a newly-formed landmass.

The researchers believe that the island could ultimately last upwards of three decades.


Source: The Guardian | Comments (3)

Tags: Tonga, Island

Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #1 Posted by Not A Rockstar on 5 February, 2019, 17:07
It doesn't go into detail about the comment that sea water had an effect on the lava which made it harder than normal - which has retained the island shape after an early erosion phase, but that makes me think the "mystery mud" could be a by-product of that process. 
Comment icon #2 Posted by Nnicolette on 5 February, 2019, 21:00
Is it pyroclastic flow? Or silt collecting ?
Comment icon #3 Posted by paperdyer on 6 February, 2019, 3:50
Sounds like this island means to stay.  The bird know it to be stable or they'd stay away..  Volcanic soil is very rich.  Maybe a farming colony can start there in the coming years.


Please Login or Register to post a comment.


  On the forums
'Miracle' as bees survive Notre Dame blaze
4-20-2019
Three hives containing a population of over 180,000 bees were left unscathed by this week's devastating fire.
Aleister Crowley's Loch Ness home up for sale
4-19-2019
The eerie building, which was gutted by a fire in 2015, was once owned by the infamous writer and occultist.
Florida firm offers alien abduction insurance
4-19-2019
The tongue-in-cheek policy is designed to ensure peace of mind for those concerned about being 'taken'.
What are great white sharks frightened of ?
4-18-2019
Despite their fearsome reputation, these monster sharks will always try to steer clear of one particular creature.
Featured Videos
Gallery icon 
Cannon made from 50,000 matches
Posted 4-7-2019 | 4 comments
What happens if you light a cannon made out of 50,000 matches ?
 
Latin America's most dangerous snake
Posted 3-24-2019 | 1 comment
Coyote Peterson comes face to face with an extremely dangerous reptile.
 
Squaring a doughnut
Posted 3-12-2019 | 1 comment
Michael returns with another mind-bending problem - this time concerning squares.
 
 View: More videos
 
Top   |  Home   |   Forum   |   News   |   Image Gallery   |  Columns   |   Encyclopedia   |   Videos   |   Polls
UM-X 10.712 Unexplained-Mysteries.com (c) 2001-2018
Terms   |   Privacy Policy   |   Cookies   |   Advertise   |   Contact   |   Help/FAQ