Mass of volcanic rocks floating off New Zealand
WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) -- A mass of small volcanic rocks nearly the size of Belgium has been discovered floating off the coast of New Zealand.
The stretch of golf-ball-size pumice rocks was first spotted this week by a New Zealand air force plane about 1,000 kilometers (620 miles) northeast of Auckland. The rocks stretch for about 26,000 square kilometers (10,000 square miles).
A navy ship took scientists to the rocks Thursday night. Naval Lt. Tim Oscar says the rocks appeared a brilliant white under a spotlight, like a giant ice shelf.
He says it's the "weirdest thing" he's seen in 18 years at sea.
Scientists say the rocks likely spewed up in an eruption by an underwater volcano. They don't believe the eruption is connected to the onshore ash eruption this week of another volcano, Mount Tongariro.
The Defence Force says the mass of rocks stretches 250 nautical miles by 30 nautical miles.
Pumice is made from lava and water and is very lightweight, so it poses no danger to ships. Pumice has a variety of uses: as an ingredient in concrete, polishes and scrubbing cleaners; to stone wash jeans and exfoliate skin.
THE NEW COMMENTS PROCESS
To make comments, you will need to register. You can register under your real name or use a 'screen' name. This way, people will be able to follow comments and make comments back and forth to each other. If you choose to use a 'screen name' no one will know your true identity. In either case, no email addresses will be available to anyone. It is an automated process. If you have questions, email: email@example.com
You currently are not logged in, please LOGIN to post comments.