Pumice, the porous grey volcanic rock that's formed when lava mixes with water has been washing up on Lord Howe Island's Blinky Beach after an undersea volcano erupted last year, producing a huge floating "pumice raft" that's been drifting in the Pacific Ocean.
Blinky Beach on Lord Howe Island
The eruption of Havre Seamount near the Kermadec Islands of New Zealand in July 2012 produced a raft of the floating grey rock that was estimated to be 480 km long and more than 48 km wide, giving it a surface area of around 26,000 km2 - making the floating island larger than the country of Israel.
One Royal Australian Navy office was quoted at the time as saying the pumice raft was, "the weirdest thing I've seen in 18 years at sea."
As the enourmous raft of pumice floated around the Pacific Ocean it began breaking up into smaller floating pebbles, many of which have now been washing up on the beaches here on Lord Howe Island. We took the picture below while on a recent visit to Blinky Beach on the east side of the island.
Pumice Stone on the beach at Lord Howe Island
You can see the pumice stones which were coveing the whole beach. Normally here on the island when we talk about Blinky Beach we refer to the "Champagne Surf" but I think with all this pumice around we're going to have to come up with a new nickname.