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Excerpt from CNN

Low-lying atolls in the Pacific Ocean have long been considered some of the most vulnerable areas to climate change, as rising sea levels threaten to submerge them.

But over the past decade, scientists have noted a puzzling phenomenon: some islands are getting bigger.
A new study released last week examined the evolution of Jeh Island, a sparsely populated atoll that’s part of the Marshall Islands, a Pacific nation made up of a remote chain of coral atolls and volcanic islands between the Philippines and Hawaii.
Researchers found the island’s land area has increased by 13% since 1943 due to a buildup of sediments from the existing coral reef. Healthy coral reefs naturally produce sediment — in fact, that’s what atolls are made of.
“You can still see an island grow at a time when most people and most models would suggest they should be eroding,” said the study’s co-author Murray Ford, an expert in Pacific reef island systems from Auckland University.
Ford and Paul Kench, from Simon Fraser University in Canada, compared the island’s land mass in aerial photos from 1943 and 2015. They also radiocarbon-dated sediment deposited on the island to find out when the coral remnants were alive, and discovered that sediment on parts of the island had been deposited after 1950, suggesting the island’s growth is relatively new.

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