NEW ZEALAND HERALD, TV ONE, RADIO NZ NEWS (New Zealand), THE AUSTRALIAN (Australia), ASSOCIATED PRESS (USA)
AUCKLAND - A mass of small volcanic rocks nearly the size of Belgium has been discovered floating off the coast of New Zealand, reports the New Zealand Herald.
The stretch of golf-ball-size pumice rocks was first spotted this week by a New Zealand air force plane about 1,000 miles off the coast of the North Island near Auckland.
The area of floating pumice was estimated to be 250 nautical miles in length and 30 nautical miles wide covering a 25,000 square kilometre area, explains TV One NZ. Its surface is larger than Israel’s or Jamaica’s.
This strange phenomenon, "the strangest in eighteen years" according to a New Zealand Navy officer, resembles polar ice shelf, reports the Australian.
Scientists do not believe that the eruption is connected to the onshore ash eruption this week of another volcano, Mount Tongariro, in the Central North Island region. The pumice rocks may come from an underwater volcano, Monowai, which has been active along the Kermadec Arc, reports Radio NZ News.
According to officials, the small rocks pose no danger to shipping.