In December 2014 a new island appeared in the South Pacific, just off the coast of Tonga. Then, almost four years later, scientists visited the landmass and – according to a January 2019 NASA blog post – giddily discovered signs of life there. The excitement was to soon wear off, though – because there was a major catch about the island.
When it comes to the Earth’s geography, the last thing we can expect is stasis. After all, since the beginning of our planet’s history, changes as gradual as erosion and as sudden as earthquakes have shaped the layout of its landmasses. Tectonic plates constantly move around, too, rearranging continents – and even oceans.
Another cause for shifts in our planet’s geography is climate change. Take, for example, the island of Tangier, which sits in Chesapeake Bay, Virginia. Tangier’s 500 inhabitants speak in an English dialect that’s unique to their hometown, and they have a rich history of crabbing in the bay waters. However, their island may not be around for much longer.