The underwater volcano Fukutoku-Okanoba, located about 800 miles south of Tokyo, erupted on August 13. Two months later, researchers from the Comprehensive Volcano Research Center of the National Institute of Earth Sciences and Disaster Prevention of Japan have found that the eruption has caused a new island to form on the surface of the sea, according to the Smithsonian Institution.
The Asahi Shimbun added that the tectonic activity from the eruption have lifted up the nearby island of Iwo Jima … which carried a pair of ships up with it from underneath the water.
You can see the fly-by footage of the ghost ships above. Jalopnik gathered some more information and context on what they are, or where they might have come from:
The ships are circulating on social media, with some believing the ships to be artifacts from the battle; others calling them sunken battleships of the Imperial Japanese Navy. But the United States Air Force Kadena Air Base in Kadena, Japan offers a different explanation.
According to the Kadena Air Base, the ships littering the coast are believed to have been scuttled in an effort to build a pier after WWII.
History site Traces Of War goes a little further, describing the 24 sunken ships as being used in an unsuccessful attempt at creating a breakwater to help facilitate getting supplies into the island.
Whatever they are, they'll probably sink back down soon enough; as The Asahi Shimbun explains:
The island is comprised of pumice and volcanic ash, which erodes easily when exposed to the elements. … New islets have periodically emerged in the area following volcanic eruptions. Sightings were made in 1904, 1914 and 1986. But they all eventually disappeared due to wind and wave erosion.
Days likely numbered for volcanic islet far south of Tokyo [Tairiku Kurosawa]
Volcanic Activity In Japan Is Lifting Abandoned Ships Out Of The Ocean [Mercedes Streeter / Jalopnik]
Volcanic activity raises Japanese ghost ships from the deep [Julian Ryall / The Telegraph]