Hawaii volcano and China Sea islands alter world's geography

Kilauea’s volcanic lava flows are not only burning down Hawaiian homes on their path towards the Pacific Ocean but also creating new territory, adding landmass to the American state and making the Big Island even bigger.

For years, Hawaii has been growing its shoreline with hardening, layered lava at a slow and steady pace. Since 1983, Hawaii has grown by 570 acres and is the only state to be physically expanding at a time of globally melting ice caps and rising oceans. Geologic change is usually a lot slower paced at altering the face of the earth and the facts on the ground.

 Lava burns a tree in the Leilani Estates subdivision near Pahoa, Hawaii, Tuesday, May 22, 2018. Authorities were racing Tuesday to close off production wells at a geothermal plant threatened by a lava flow from Kilauea volcano on Hawaii's Big Island.

Lava burns a tree in the Leilani Estates subdivision near Pahoa, Hawaii, Tuesday, May 22, 2018. Authorities were racing Tuesday to close off production wells at a geothermal plant threatened by a lava flow from Kilauea volcano on Hawaii's Big Island.

Human time, however, is much faster and accelerates dramatic changes in political geography. New Chinese islands arise today where there once were only coral reefs. Russia expands and redefines its own territory by building bridges to foreign peninsulas it occupies and claims. Israel and China legitimize their claims over contested towns and turf, asserting their regional dominance by achieving the world’s diplomatic recognition.  READ MORE