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Huge Pumice Rock 'Island' Seen Floating In South Pacific

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday August 11, 2012 @01:11PM (#40958313)

    ...the sailors who made the discovery had the clearest skin that the reporter has ever seen.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday August 11, 2012 @01:11PM (#40958317)

    It's just Cthulhu turning over in his sleep.

  • by Trepidity (597) <[gro.hsikcah] [ta] [todhsals-muiriled]> on Saturday August 11, 2012 @01:13PM (#40958337)

    If it's like previous pumice rafts [wikipedia.org], it's more like a large area of debris than a big island. Here's a random photo [visualphotos.com] showing a boat plowing a path through one made up of smaller pieces. Not really the kind of thing you can walk around on, though the description of this one having an edge like an ice-shelf makes it sound like it may have larger rocks in it. Here [nasa.gov] is a NASA satellite photo of a 2006 occurrence with a more obvious origin (it's adjacent to an erupting volcano).

    • by Spiridios (2406474) on Saturday August 11, 2012 @01:55PM (#40958695) Journal

      If you click through to TFA's TFA [theaustralian.com.au], you'll see they properly used the term "raft" unlike MSN. They also mentioned that their vessel plowed right through it, even though "The rock appeared to be sitting above the surface of the waves and when lit up looked like the edge of an ice shelf."

      For further terminology bending, the Daily Mail calls it a rock ice-shelf [dailymail.co.uk]. They also have a pic of it that looks more frothy than island or ice-shelf like.

      • by Trepidity (597)

        I like the part where they include a bunch of gratuitous photos of actual ice shelves.

      • by Sperbels (1008585)
        Ah bummer. The article made it sound like this was a giant piece of rock that you could walk on. That would be nifty.
        • by RockDoctor (15477)
          With a pair of large skis - water skis perhaps - it's not entirely impossible.

          Actually, that sounds like a good one for the Mythbusters!

      • Faily Fail (Score:4, Funny)

        by Dogtanian (588974) on Saturday August 11, 2012 @05:02PM (#40959941) Homepage

        For further terminology bending, the Daily Mail calls it a rock ice-shelf [dailymail.co.uk].

        They then go on to blame it on illegal immigrants and ask if it is likely to affect house prices.

        However, they haven't yet determined whether pumice is the latest miracle food or whether it's this week's innocuous substance that has been found to cause cancer in those gullible enough to believe scaremongering journalism.

    • by yincrash (854885)
      A quote from the dailymail article:

      'The rock looked to be sitting two foot (half a metre) above the surface of the waves and lit up a brilliant while colour in the spotlight. It looked exactly like the edge of an ice shelf.'

      Sooo, maybe something big!

    • by semiotec (948062)
      No, not an island. It's a flotation device.
    • Why yes, I have seen a satellite photo of Late.

    • Maybe for small boats it's OK to plow through it, but with larger boats and ships I would think it is not a good idea. They have a tonne of water inlets from below the water line for things like engine cooling/heat exchangers, and flushing out sewage, bilge pumps, etc. That pumice can thoroughly fuck up a pump. Or clog a heat exchanger. That could shut down one of those massive diesel engines right quick. It could also mean having to reapply antifouling paint on some vessels depending on how far they had to
    • Aww crap! And I've already booked the cruise... The travel agent said I could walk on the island first in the morning, and then the ship's crew would turn it over and I could walk on the other side in the evening.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    They've finally worked out their disagreements with Atlantis and have united to force the Surface world to bow to their will!

    Is there no treachery beneath them?

  • He's waking up! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by djirk (763517) on Saturday August 11, 2012 @01:27PM (#40958457)
    Ph'nglui Mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn.
    • by couchslug (175151)

      That pumice is from a thing which makes Cthulhu look as innocent as the Geico gecko.

      It fell off when my mother-in-law was stoning her corns.

    • Just listen to you... "He" Ha! Your notion of gender is quaint -- Your small mind can not begin to comprehend the mechanisms of C'thulhu's procreation. To conceive of such cosmorganic machinations is to become their very product.... which looks surprisingly like pumice flotsam.
  • by cowboy76Spain (815442) on Saturday August 11, 2012 @01:33PM (#40958509)

    But I'll keep waiting for the news about the turtle and the elephants :-).

  • by DigiShaman (671371) on Saturday August 11, 2012 @01:36PM (#40958531) Homepage

    "Pumice, the lightweight stone used to smooth skin, is usually found in beauty salons."

    Ha! I'll use that line next time I see a mechanic wash his hands with a Lava Bar [lavasoap.com].

  • by macshome (818789) on Saturday August 11, 2012 @01:36PM (#40958535) Homepage
    First time accepted submitter ZombieBraintrust copy and pastes from CNN.com
  • The pumice in these islands was created by underwater volcanos. How much heat are these conspirators against humanity putting into our oceans? Maybe THEY are to blame for the melting ice caps?

    • by riverat1 (1048260)

      Not a chance. The heat receive from the Sun and retained by the Earth is several orders of magnitude greater than all volcanoes put together. Volcanoes are insignificant in that regard.

  • by xaoslaad (590527) on Saturday August 11, 2012 @03:02PM (#40959213)
    An island rising in the south Pacific can mean only one thing!
    • by j-pimp (177072)

      An island rising in the south Pacific can mean only one thing!

      Lex Luthor finally gotten rid of that pesky illegal immigrant and can continue his real estate development!

  • Fuck! Nature is amazing!

  • by Animats (122034) on Saturday August 11, 2012 @03:11PM (#40959289) Homepage

    It could be scooped up and sold, but at $25 a ton, it's not worth it.

    • Not sure where you got that price from. If it's actually "consumer grade" (i.e. appropriate for use on skin) you could make a killing making these [amazon.co.uk]

      • Re:$25 a ton (Score:4, Informative)

        by Animats (122034) on Saturday August 11, 2012 @04:43PM (#40959847) Homepage

        Not sure where you got that price from.

        USGS Minerals Industry Summary - Pumice [usgs.gov]. That's the bulk price.

        There are "Trash Hunter [aquarius-systems.com] boats that could pick up pumice, but they're not intended for remote open-ocean operations. To collect this stuff, it would take booms and ocean-going tugs or fishing boats to concentrate the floating pumice, a collection vessel to pull it out of the water and screen it, and a bulk freighter to haul it to some customer. It's like cleaning up an oil spill, except that it's a solid. It might be desirable to do this if the mess drifts to a populated area.

        Over time, wave action breaks the stuff up, opens the gas pockets that make it float, and it sinks. This takes about a year [unsw.edu.au], so it's not a long term problem. It happens now and then. Known events off Tonga in 1964 and 2002 have been studied. Long-term impact is low; it's hard to tell, a few years later, that it ever happened.

      • by cffrost (885375)

        Not sure where you got that price from.

        Lake Dredge Appraisal? [youtube.com]

  • it is a stunt by Blizzard to draw attention to the upcomong expansion pak for WoW, which involves a floating island.

  • I thought Dr. Doolittle took care of that floating mess.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    If Hank Johnson (US Representative) learns about this, he'll worry about NZ capsizing.

  • Just enter the code every 108 minutes and we'll all be OK.

  • This island could actually tip over unlike Guam.
  • Beaches of pum,ice (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Sussurros (2457406) on Saturday August 11, 2012 @08:52PM (#40961083)
    I have many years ago seen beaches in New Zealand composed entirely of pumice. I saw them north of Gisborne on the North Island and pumice was quite literally the only thing you could see on the beach and it went at least as deep as my hand. On another small beach nearby the surface was covered entirely by pieces of abalone shell - an ancient Maori midden beach I assume but those beaches are all deserted and there's no-one around to ask.
  • Quick - something from the earth is oozing out and polluting the ocean - we must find a big corporation to blame. We must mobilize the media to identify the culprit and immediately begin aid operations to the millions of people and fish that will be affected by this disaster

"Say yur prayers, yuh flea-pickin' varmint!" -- Yosemite Sam