National comparisons

A lot of frothy rock (or rocky froth):

A vast “raft” of volcanic rocks covering 10,000 sq miles (26,000 sq km) of ocean has been spotted by a New Zealand military aircraft.

A naval ship was forced to change course in order to avoid the cluster of buoyant rocks, located 1,000 miles off the New Zealand coast.

The unusual phenomenon was probably the result of pumice being released from an underwater volcano, experts said.

Now for the complications:

  • Golf ball-size pumice rocks spanning an area the size of Belgium are discovered in waters off New Zealand. [Sky News]
  • An undersea volcanic eruption has created a raft of porous volcanic rock in the Pacific Ocean that’s larger than the surface area of Israel, but navy officers say the phenomenon is not a danger to shipping. [news.com.au]

To quantify that:

  • Belgium covers an area of 30,528 square kilometres (11,787 sq mi) [wikipedia]
  • Israel’s area is approximately 20,700 km2 (7,992 sq mi), which includes 445 km2 (172 sq mi) of inland water [wikipedia]

But remember:

The area of floating pumice is 250 nautical miles (463km) in length and 30 nautical miles wide (55km), and covers 25,465 square kilometres.

and:

The Israeli-occupied territories include the West Bank, 5,879 km2 (2,270 sq mi), East Jerusalem, 70 km2(27 sq mi) and the Golan Heights, 1,150 km2 (444 sq mi). [wikipedia, again]

So: (20,700+5,879+70+1,150) km = 27,799 km2

It looks, then, as if  [news.com.au] decided to split the difference. Which is not political correctness — especially in this case.

Or, in the local currency

On the other hand, (463 x 30) km2 =  1.226  of a standard Wales. For the record, 1.47 standard Wales = 1 standard Belgium.

One final complexity: golf balls are, by definition, three dimensional solids (42.67mm in diameter). The above involves comparing volumes,  with surface area and including golf-ball dimples.Tricky — but calculated at each golf-ball = 71.6885 cm2 .

So, take a couple of trillion golf-balls, squash and spread flat = one “vast raft of volcanic rock”. Or something.

Got all that?

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Filed under BBC, Belgium, Wales

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