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How old are you? Are you of retirement age yet? If so, in your lifetime, an island has been reborn, sand grain by sand grain.
Between 1945 and 2010, a sediment deposit in the Pacific Ocean grew to become a "fully vegetated and stable island," two environmental scientists report this month. The island birth occurred in the Nadikdik Atoll, many of whose islands were destroyed in a typhoon in 1905 that left all but two Nadikdik residents dead. (The survivors drifted on coconut logs for 24 hours before rescue crews came.) Since then, the healthy reef in the atoll has thrown up coral bits and sand to remake itself.
The sediment deposit grew in area from about 17,000 square feet (1,546 square meters) to about 89,000 square feet. In addition, several small islands in the atoll merged to form one landmass. Many of the islands have been moving, some of them more than 300 feet in 61 years. That means they're moving about as fast as a redwood tree sapling grows. These islands—once inhabited; still not far from islands that have cities and houses and cars—practically seem alive.
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