A huge mass of small volcanic rocks, approximately the size of Belgium, has been spotted floating off the coast of New Zealand.
The collection of golf ball size pumice rocks were first spotted this week by a New Zealand air force plane, approximately 1,000 kms northeast of Auckland.
The rocks apparently stretch for around 26,000 square kilometers (or 250 nautical miles by 30 nautical miles according to the New Zealand Navy), and appear as a “brilliant white under a spotlight, like a giant ice shelf,” according to witnesses. A navy ship took scientists out to the rocks on Thursday night.
Naval Lt. Tim Oscar says it's the “weirdest thing” he has seen in 18 years at sea.
"The rock looked to be sitting two feet above the surface of the waves, and lit up a brilliant white color in the spotlight. It looked exactly like the edge of an ice shelf," he said.
Scientists say the rocks were likely spewed up in an eruption of an underwater volcano and do not believe that this eruption is connected to the Mount Tongariro ash eruption this week. Officials say there is no danger to shipping in the area.