How Are Islands Formed? New Mysterious Land Mass Appears off North Carolina

A new land mass has mysteriously appeared in the Bermuda Triangle
Erosion affects the tip of the Uppards in an area called Canaan in Tangier, Virginia. Meanwhile, along the coast of Cape Point, in the Bermuda Triangle, a new island has appeared, according to reports on June 28. JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images

A new land mass has appeared off the coast of North Carolina. The island was observed to be a small spot of sand in April but has since expanded to at least a mile long and as wide as a football field, according to a Wednesday CNN report.

Nicknamed Shelly Island because of the wide variety of seashells dotting the sandbanks, the land mass has already become a popular attraction to folks visiting the Outer Banks’ Cape Hatteras National Seashore, after a man vacationing in the area posted a birds'-eye-view photo of the island on social media.

But beware, tourists: The journey from Cape Hatteras to Shelly Island is said to be dangerous, and for good reason.

The crescent-shaped island is surrounded by the cold Labrador Current and warm Gulf Stream waters that typically wash over sandbanks that appear in the area. In most cases, isles that emerge in the region end up disappearing nearly as quickly as they surface.

About 40 to 50 miles wide, according to National Geographic, the Gulf Stream is like a river within the North Atlantic ocean that flows along the western edge of the Bermuda Triangle--connected by points in waters near Miami, Puerto Rico and San Juan.

As the Gulf Stream travels northward, reaching as far as the waters surrounding the newly surfaced Shelly Island, its met with the Labrador Current cold front, which travels from the Arctic Ocean up towards the North Atlantic Ocean. Together the stream and current create a ghastly environment of harsh winds and swirling tides--making the region a particularly deadly one for sailors and ships along with the consistent washing-over of developing isles.

Also worrisome: The waters surrounding Shelly Island are home to a region near the Bermuda Triangle referred to as the Graveyard of the Atlantic, due to the number of shipwrecks.

Some 300 wrecks have been identified in the area waters, including the 205-foot Sunk, an English ship that was sailing North Carolina waters in 1877 when it was mysteriously pulled to the bottom of the ocean. The ancient ship is still easily visible, and it has attracted tourists to North Carolina over the years.

Albeit sprinkled with beautiful seashells, the island’s shoreline is riddled with whale bones wreckage from ships. The waters surrounding Shelly Island are also known for tiger sharks and oceanic manta rays, which locals described to National Geographic as being the “size of car hoods.”

Despite Shelly Island's allure, Hallac warned it most likely won't be around for long.

"It's unusually large compared to what we've been seeing in recent decades," he said in a separate interview with National Geographic, "But if you put this in geological perspective, it's nothing really."

Correction: A previous version of this article said Shelly Island was located in the Bermuda Triangle. Shelly Island not directly located in the Bermuda Triangle but sits in the North Atlantic Ocean in a region of water near the Bermuda Triangle.