You would be forgiven for thinking that what you see on your antique nautical charts will be on the map forever… but it seems that this may not actually be the case!
According to the Guardian and the Asahi Shimbun, an uninhabited island off the north-east coast of Japan has disappeared, with locals first alerted to its potential disappearance back in September after a writer visited nearby Sarufutsu to research a sequel to his book on the hidden islands of Japan.
Author Hiroshi Shimizu told the local fisheries cooperative about the problem and boats were sent to the islet’s location, only to find it gone.
The Japan coastguard explained that the island was first surveyed back in 1987 and it protruded 1.4m above the surface, which led to the conclusion that it had been eroded by wind and drift ice. The coastguard is now set to visit the area to find out what happened to the island and if it has indeed disappeared, Japan’s exclusive economic zone would shrink by around half a kilometre.
Of course, with climate change and rising sea levels, it’s possible that the maps we read now will look very different in 100 years’ time.
Take a look at this Reader’s Digest article about the different islands that could well disappear in the relatively near future. The Solomon Islands, for example, are being overtaken by the sea, with levels rising by approximately eight millimetres a year since 1993. The provincial capital is now just 6.6ft above sea level and a new town is having to be built for the residents to move to!