Thursday, 12 December 2013

New islands: how life colonises them

Islands formed from volcanic eruptions, such as the recent one off the coast of Japan, are harsh environments. But as the 50-year-old island of Surtsey near Iceland shows, nature will take hold anywhere

The recent appearance of a new island off the coast of Japan, following an undersea volcanic eruption, was well timed. It was 50 years ago that another island was born: Surtsey. Named after a "fire giant" from Norse mythology, it appeared off the southernmost tip of Iceland on 14 November 1963, just as the Beatles were riding high in the charts and President Kennedy was planning that fateful visit to Dallas.

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