All the news outlets are reporting this today, a stunning new development in the Red Sea. I'll post one article and then continue below with connecting the unusual seismic activity that has been ongoing in that region for over a year. And of course, connect it with the bible...
Brand new island rises from Red Sea depths
"Volcanic activity in the Red Sea is causing the formation of a new island in the Zubair archipelago as lava is cooled by the surrounding seawater and solidifies. The underwater volcano responsible is located on the Red Sea Rift, where the African and Arabian tectonic plates are slowly pulling apart."
"Yemeni fishermen first spotted lava spewing 30 metres into the air on 19 December and this was later confirmed by satellite observations. Ash plumes were detected by NASA's Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer aboard its Terra and Aqua satellites and NASA's Advanced Land Imager aboard its Earth Observing One satellite, which produced this image. Elevated levels of sulphur dioxide in the region were also recorded by the Ozone Monitoring Instrument aboard NASA's Aura satellite."
"By 23 December, the lava mass had broken the water's surface and the new island had begun to take shape. The island is currently around 500m wide and is still growing. The question now is whether or not it has staying power. It may continue to grow significantly as volcanic activity continues, or the fragile lava mass may be broken up by the action of the sea's waves."
"Whatever the outcome, volcanic activity in the Red Sea region appears to be on the rise. This is the first time the volcano has erupted in over a century and follows recent eruptions in the Afar Triangle in Eritrea and Ethiopia and the volcanic fields of southern Yemen and Saudi Arabia. In 2007, the nearby Jabal al-Tair volcanic island also erupted for the first time in over a century, killing 8 people."
If you remember, there has also been another volcanic island rising from the deep, over at El Hierro in the Canary Islands. And in November last year a new island emerged from the sea in just a few days at Indonesia at Anak Krakatau. I wrote about that, here.
Back to the Red Sea.
In December 2010 I wrote about unusual seismic activity occurring in the area off Eritrea in the Red Sea. I'd written,
"In 2005, the continent of Africa began unzipping. In just days, a 35-mile-long rift opened up, which was 20 miles wide at spots. It happened quickly and initially, scientists surmised that a new sea was growing. However, this assessment as controversial, because their understanding of plate tectonics holds a longer and a slower view. In other words, continents don't move and split apart in days, it takes millions of years. Or so they thought. In November of 2009, scientists concluded that indeed, the continent of Africa is birthing a new sea, and that was when they used the word "unzipped." More on this below.
At the Horn of Africa in November 2010, an earthquake swarm at Yemen caused alarm. The swarm was situated at the opening to the Red Sea at the Gulf of Aden, and seemed to be an unusual place for seismic activity. According to the history of the area, at USGS, the Yemen-Gulf of Aden-Djibouti area IS seismic, but in a minor way. Between 1950 through yesterday this area had 56 earthquakes ranging between mag 4.0-5.9. There were no quakes greater than mag 5.9 during that date range. Now there have been 31, which is 2/3 as many as in the last sixty years. This is statistically significant, as well as prophetically interesting. (Mark 13:8). It should be noted that this is the exact area where a new island has now emerged a year later.
In my opinion, there are two ways that this is prophetically interesting. First, Jesus told us plainly that in the last days of the birthpangs, there will be earthquakes in diverse places. Beyond the unusual geophysical changes occurring with rifts suddenly opening, and unusual earthquake activity that has never been replicated historically, but at the other end of the rift at this same time last year, a 5.1 mag earthquake occurred in Ethiopia, which is the other end of the rapidly "unzipping" rift. The area highlighted above is definitely diverse.
Secondly, the bible shows us that the Tribulation will be a time of massive geophysical changes. Revelation 16:20 prophesies that every island flees away and every mountain crumbles. So do Revelation 6 and Ezekiel 38:20. Isaiah 24 is the chapter that describes the destruction of the world by God, "The LORD’s Devastation of the Earth." Remember, when the world was formed it looked very different. After the flood the land masses had changed dramatically.
As to the slow vs. catastrophic plate tectonics competing theories, many current observations are incompatible with slow-and-gradual plate tectonics. The unzipping of the African Rift is just one example. It is happening before our eyes.
Answers in Genesis explains:
Is Catastrophic Plate Tectonics Biblical?
"The Bible does not directly mention either continental drift or plate tectonics. However, if the continents were once joined together, as suggested by Genesis 1:9–10, and are now apart, then the only possibility is continental division and “sprint” during the Flood. Some have suggested this continental division occurred after the Flood during the days of Peleg when “the earth was divided” (Genesis 10:25). However, this Hebrew expression can be also translated to mean “lands being divided among peoples,” which, according to the context, refers to the results of the Tower of Babel judgment. Furthermore, the destruction at the earth’s surface, where people and animals were then living during such a rapid continental “sprint,” would have been as utterly devastating as the Flood itself. Therefore, using catastrophic plate tectonics as a model, mechanism, and framework to describe and understand the Genesis Flood event is far more reasonable and is also consistent with the Bible."
It is the supposition of many eschatology bible scholars that the geo-physical changes that will occur in the Tribulation not only will be punishment for sin (Isaiah 24), but also a process by which the Lord reforms the earth back to its original state. (Rev 21-22). Ezekiel 47 describes the Millennial River that forges a path between the Mediterranean Sea and the Dead Sea. (see map here). Rapid geological and geo-physical changes are prophesied and are already beginning. Keep looking up.