Tremors from recent volcanic activity have caused WWII ghost ships from the epic Battle of Iwo Jima to rise to the surface. The two dozen Japanese transport vessels were captured by the US Navy during WWII and were moved to the western part of the island to form a port because the island had no port facilities. Now, thanks to recent seismic activity, some of these vessels are now resting along the coastline of the Japanese island.
In recent years, the seabed has started to rise around Iwo Jima. Mount Suribachi is the island’s active volcano, and its seismic activity has had a drastic effect on the coastline, seabed, and seaboard.
Thanks to these tremors of volcanic activity, these massive vessels which were once used as a breakwater to protect loading and unloading military supplies, now rest atop volcanic ash.
What was the Battle of Iwo Jima?
“The Battle of Iwo Jima was an epic military campaign between U.S. Marines and the Imperial Army of Japan in early 1945. Located 750 miles off the coast of Japan, the island of Iwo Jima had three airfields that could serve as a staging facility for a potential invasion of mainland Japan. American forces invaded the island on February 19, 1945, and the ensuing Battle of Iwo Jima lasted for five weeks. In some of the bloodiest fighting of World War II, it’s believed that all but 200 or so of the 21,000 Japanese forces on the island were killed, as were almost 7,000 Marines.”History.com
Iwo Jima Tremors
There is no civilian population on the island, only Japanese military personnel. The United States Military gave control of the island back to the Japanese in 1968, and since then, the Japanese military has used the area.
Setsuya Nakada, director of the government’s Volcano Research Promotion Centre, spoke with All Nippon News to clarify a few points.
‘The discolored sea area has spread to surrounding areas, which indicates that the volcanic activity has not diminished yet. There is a possibility of a big eruption on Iwo Jima.’
Iwo Jima is also known as ‘Sulphur Island,’ and has had over 10 active eruptions. The last major eruption was back in 1982. Although there hasn’t been much activity in the form of eruptions, there has been plenty of seismic activity underground. This is what concerns many experts about the island’s future. In the past 50 years, the island has raised 30 feet (10 meters).
Mount Suribachi is 554 feet high and is considered one of Japan’s ten deadliest volcanoes.
According to the New York Post, in August “satellite images showed the moment underwater Fukutoku-Okanoba volcano, around three miles north of Iwo Jima, had erupted. The eruption created a new island in the Ogasawara chain – which is a set of volcanic islands around 621 miles south of Tokyo.“
Japan is a special island, located among what is known as the ‘Ring of Fire’ – a long chain of volcanoes and fault lines around the edge of the Pacific Ocean.
- “Iwo Jima.” History. October 29, 2009.
- “Japanese ghost ships that were sunk by the US during WWII at Battle of Iwo Jima are RAISED from the seabed by tremors from one of island’s most active volcanoes.” Daily Mail. Chris Ciaccia. October 19, 2021.
- “Japanese WWII ships sunk by US emerge after volcano tremors lift seabeds.” NYPost. Mark Hodge. October 21, 2021 .