As far as islands go, there’s not a lot of paradise left untouched.
One exception is a new island off the coast of Japan, Nishinoshima, which has increased 10 times in size over the last year and now boasts a cartography-worthy 2.3 square kilometres of real estate. The growth spurt is the result of ongoing lava flow from the ocean floor, which hardens as it reaches the surface.
Though most the island is still very much barren – babies aren’t just born with hair, after all – scientists are monitoring it closely for early signs of the evolutionary process. It’s an incredibly rare opportunity to observe the life cycle from ground zero, one which in this case will, interestingly enough, be fuelled by bird shit.
As beaches start to form along its eroded shores, some already anticipate a beautifully lush landscape to flower in the near future. Our hope is that Nishinoshima is covered by the same UNESCO World Heritage protection as the relatively nearby Ogasawara Islands in order to curb inevitable human pillaging for economic exploit (see: tourism).
Ironically, we can’t wait to visit.