This is the amazing story about a Pacific island that grew back after being destructed by a devastating typhoon 100 years ago.

geological Oddity: new island formation in Nadikdik Atoll reappears, Nadikdik Atoll reappears, new islands in Nadikdik Atoll , new atoll formation in Marschall Islands, Marshall Islands formation, new island formation, atoll formation, new island reappears in Pacific, pacific island reappears, new island formation in Pacific, New island formation in Pacific atoll February 2014. Photo: Geomorphology, Formation and adjustment of typhoon-impacted reef islands interpreted from remote imagery: Nadikdik Atoll, Marshall Islands
New island formation in Pacific atoll February 2014. Photo: Geomorphology

You probably remember the formation of three new islands after a powerful earthquake off the coast of Pakistan last year. Well, a similar event occurred in a Pacific atoll. In 1905, a devastating typhoon swept over the Nadikdik atoll (part of the remote Marshall Islands) in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, killing the majority of inhabitants (2 inhabitants survived) and stripping this small piece of earth back to the bare coral.

Nadikdik atoll reappears after its destruction, Nadikdik atoll reappears, Nadikdik atoll formation, Nadikdik atoll geological oddity, new island forms in Pacific ocean, new atoll forms in Pacific ocean, new atoll forms in Marschall Islands
Nadikdik atoll geological oddity. Photo: Daily Mail

Based on aerial photograph studies, scientists of the University of Auckland have shown that the islands have ‘grown back’ from a sandy deposit to lush reef islands  just over a century on. Imagine 100 years are incredibly fast on a geological scale (earth formed 4,568 billion years ago)!

The paper’s abstract explains:

In 1905 a devastating typhoon hit Nadikdik Atoll (5°54’ N and 172°09’ E) in the southern Marshall Islands. Evidence suggests that large sections of reef islands on Nadikdik were overwashed and destroyed. Comparison of aerial photographs taken in 1945 and modern satellite imagery provides a unique record of the geomorphic adjustment of islands after the typhoon. Between 1945 and 2010 the vegetated area of islands on Nadikdik grew from 0.74 to 0.90 km2. Observed changes to Nadikdik reef islands manifested through a range of styles and were largely accretionary. Of note, the formation of a new island was tracked from an embryonic deposit to a fully vegetated and stable island over a 61 year period. Similarly, a number of previously discrete islands have agglomerated and formed a single larger island. These changes were rapid and indicate that reef island formation can occur quickly. Evidence suggests that despite the typhoon occurring over a century ago the geomorphic adjustment of islands is still on-going.

According to the New Zealand Herald, this study will help scientists to better understand how new islands are created, which is of interest as people are worried about rising sea levels due to climate change.

Amazing, no?

Follow us: Facebook and Twitter

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here