The U. S. occupied Iwo Jima until 1968 when it was returned to Japan. The first European to arrive at Iwo Jima was Spanish sailor Bernardo de la Torre who named it Sufre Island, at that time Iwo Jima and other islands were the limit between the Spanish and Portuguese Empires in the far East. In 1779, the island was charted as Sulphur Island, the translation of its official name. The name Sulphur Island was translated into Late Middle Japanese with the Sino-Japanese rendering iwau-tau, from Middle Chinese ljuw-huang sulfur, the historical spelling iwautau had come to be pronounced Iwō-tō by the age of Western exploration, and the 1946 orthography reform fixed the spelling and pronunciation at Iō-tō. An alternative, Iwō-jima, modern Iō-jima, also appeared in nautical atlases, tō and shima are different readings of the kanji for island, the shima being changed to jima in this case. Japanese naval officers who arrived to fortify the island before the U. S. invasion mistakenly called it Iwo Jima, in this way, the Iwo Jima reading became mainstream and was the one used by U. S. forces who arrived during World War II. Moves to revert the pronunciation were sparked by the high-profile films Flags of Our Fathers and Letters from Iwo Jima, the change does not affect how the name is written with kanji, 硫黄島, only how it is pronounced or written in hiragana, katakana and rōmaji. The island has an area of 21 km2. The most prominent feature is Mount Suribachi on the southern tip, named after a Japanese grinding bowl, the summit of Mount Suribachi is the highest point on the island. Iwo Jima is unusually flat and featureless for a volcanic island, Suribachi is the only obvious volcanic feature, as it is only the resurgent dome of a larger submerged volcanic caldera. 80 km north of the island is North Iwo Jima and 59 kilometres south is South Iwo Jima, just south of Minami-Iō-jima are the Mariana Islands. Iwo Jima has a history of volcanic activity a few times per year. Late 1779, Captain Cooks surveying crew landed on a beach which is now 40 m above sea level due to volcanic uplifting. Such uplifting occurs on the island at a rate of between 100 and 800 mm per year, with an average rate of 200 mm per year. Early 1945, USA armed forces landed on a beach which as of 2015 was 17 metres above sea level due to volcanic uplift,28 March 1957, Phreatic eruption without warning 2 km northeast of Suribachi, lasted 65 minutes and ejected material 30 m high from one crater. Another crater,30 m wide and 15 m deep, formed by collapse 50 minutes after the eruption ended,31 March 1957, Gas emissions increased. 9-10 March 1982,5 phreatic eruptions from vents on the northwest shore of Iwo-jima,21 September 2001, Submarine eruption from 3 vents southeast of Iwo-jima. It built a 10 m diameter pyroclastic cone,19 October 2001, A small phreatic eruption at Idogahama, made a crater 10 m wide and 2–3 m deep
Image: Iwo to landsat 1999
Airport Control Tower, 2010
Mount Suribachi on Iwo Jima.
U.S. postage stamp, 1945 issue, commemorating the Battle of Iwo Jima.