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Regional Redecoration

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There was a city here. It's gone now.

"Gentlemen, we may not make history tomorrow, but we shall certainly change the geography."
General Sir Charles Harington before the mine detonation at the Battle of Messines, World War I

Maybe it's a volcano, an earthquake, some object from outer space, a Person of Mass Destruction, a nuclear war, etc. Or maybe it's an intentional method of Terraforming. In fiction, many events have a tendency to alter the local geography. Better get to redrawing those maps.

Often also a form of Artistic License – Geology. See also California Collapse for one variation of disasters. This isn't meant to be confused with the long-standing geographical differences that might be present on an alternate Earth. Also overlaps with Terrain Sculpting. Victims of this are often throwaway countries.

This has nothing to do with changing borders between countries. For a more egotistical redecoration of Earth's nearest neighbor, see Deface of the Moon. For a magical variation, see World Sundering.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Aldnoah.Zero has the Heaven's Fall incident, where the moon was destroyed. The resulting debris and gravitational effects badly defaced the Earth.
  • [C] – Control has a metaphysical example occur in a Episode 8, where the Southeast Asian Financial District's collapse causes Singapore to disappear. Not just the city or land, but everything. This is also not the first time this has happened- the collapse of the South American Financial District led to the disappearance of a nation called the Carribean Republic.
  • Deadman Wonderland: The Great Tokyo Earthquake, a magnitude 11.4, sank approximately 75% of the city. The titular prison/amusement park was created as a way of bringing in revenue to help rebuild. This was later revealed to be Shiro/the Wretched Egg attempting to kill herself.
  • Dragon Ball: Very common in the first series and Dragon Ball Z, where fights tend to level much of the surrounding landscapes, with cities destroyed and islands sunk. All this before planets get blown up as well.
  • The Enigma of Amigara Fault: An earthquake that hits an unspecified region of Japan, causing the earth near the epicenter to split open and expose a cliff on the north slope of Amigara Mountain. A cliff filled with thousands of human-shaped holes. And that's just the beginning...
  • Fire Force: 250 years ago, the Great Disaster burned the world, shattered continents, and destroyed most nations. Even centuries later, much of the world remains uninhabitable; the Tokyo Empire may be one of the only stable nations left.
  • Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex: the world is still scarred with craters from World War III.
  • Godzilla: Planet of the Monsters: What was once East Asia is shown to have experienced this after 20,000 years of Godzilla ruling and Hostile Terraforming the Earth in humanity's absence.
  • Gundam: During the One Year War, the Principality of Zeon attempted to drop a depopulated colony onto The Federation's base in South America. Unfortunately, they miscalculated and the colony fell onto Sydney, Australia. This resulted in a massive explosion that vaporized the city and much of the surrounding landscape, leaving behind a 500-kilometer-wide crater known as the Gulf of Sydney. An early scene in 0083 highlights this, with a civilian who's never set foot on the planet before admiring the endless ocean she's currently flying over, asking the captain when they'll arrive in Australia, and being told they're technically already over it.
  • K has the Kagutsu crater incident, where a Sword of Damocles was dropped on July 11, 1999, resulting in an explosion that killed 700,000 people and left a huge crater in the Southern Kanto Region.
  • Madara from Naruto mentions this as a Badass Boast, saying that it's a good thing that his rival Hashirama isn't present since they won't have to redraw the map "that much". He then cuts a mountain in half. His climactic battle with Hashirama in Naruto's backstory was also what created the Valley of the End, where Naruto and Sasuke battled before the timeskip, in the first place.
  • Neon Genesis Evangelion:
    • Antarctica was destroyed by the Second Impact, leaving a sea devoid of all Lilith-based life, including microbes.
    • In the manga adaptation, after dropping an N2 bombnote  on an Angel, a NERV officer complains that they'll have to redraw the map of Japan again—the explosion having carved a scoop out of the coastline.
    • In You Can (Not) Redo, the Near Third Impact has left the Earth even more devastated. Tokyo-3 and the surrounding landscape is a wasteland full of ruins, craters, upheaval, blood-like smears and huge red crosses. Much of the planet is also scarred by vast fissures, one of which looks like a huge mouth with rows of teeth. Additionally, the moon is now much closer, is no longer tidally locked, and is also covered with blood smears. What remained of the biosphere is now destroyed and fewer than ten million humans have survived.
  • One Piece:
    • Akainu and Aokiji's duel in Punk Hazard during the Time Skip drastically altered its geography: where it used to be full of greenery before, these days half of the island is a burning, volcanic wasteland littered with molten ruins, while the other half is a snowy, frozen mountain range. Both halves are separated by a massive crater that has since filled with sea water. When two Admirals fight to the death, a result such as this can be expected.
    • The events of the Dressrosa arc massively and permanently alter the island's geography, what with a second King's Plateau being created by Pica and Luffy punching a crater from the surface into the island's underground port at the climax of his fight with Doflamingo.
    • The Wano Country arc has Kaido lift Onigashima and the entirety of the island it was built upon from its original location in Wano's inner sea and move it to the Flower Capital during the Onigashima raid, though it's only thanks to Momonosuke that it manages to land safely after Kaido passes out and loses control of the flame clouds keeping the island in the air.
    • Following the Marines' attempt to arrest Boa Hancock with assistance from the Seraphim, the mountain at the center of the island has been cleaved in half thanks to S-Hawk, a clone of Dracule Mihawk, who appears to have inherited his swordsmanship.
  • Remina: One lick from the tip of Remina's tongue nearly carves Honshu in half.

    Comic Books 
  • Age of Apocalypse takes place in an Alternate Timeline where Xavier is accidentally killed by his time-travelling psychotic son, who was trying to assassinate Magneto. Without Xavier around, the X-men are unable to stop Apocalypse from triggering a nuclear war. This leads to a Villain World where mutant Nazis are hard at work exterminating the remnants of the human race, Europe is a fortress fighting a losing war against Apocalypse, and most of the planet is a toxic Death World.
  • Collateral damage is barely a concern during the war against the Ogdru Hem in B.P.R.D.. Earthquakes, volcanic disasters, and attacks from the monsters have destroyed cities like Munich, Houston, Seattle, London, New York, Paris, Raleigh, and many others. Additionally, half of the islands in the Indonesian archipelago, including Borneo and Sulawesi, are gone.
  • Captain Atom: At the end of "Battle for Bludhaven", Captain Atom blows up the entire city- which had already been severely damaged by another explosion a year earlier courtesy of the Secret Society of Super-villains- leaving behind nothing but a massive crater.
  • The Amazon/Atlantean war in Flashpoint saw Aquaman sinking Western Europe into the ocean after the Amazons conquered England, resulting a combined total of 132 million casualties.
  • In one issue of G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero (Marvel), Cobra tricks the Joe team into setting off a large explosion and triggering a fault line. The result: a chunk of land rises in the Gulf of Mexico, becoming an island and Cobra claims it as Cobra Island almost as soon as it stops rising.
  • In his most powerful form, The Incredible Hulk came within a fraction of sinking the Eastern Seaboard of the United States just by stomping.'
  • In Irredeemable, The Plutonian sinks Singapore into the ocean. This is not the worst thing he's done.
  • Japan gets hit with this quite a few times in the Marvel universe. All of which get reset, thankfully.
    • During The Infinity Gauntlet arc, it sinks into the ocean.
    • Moses Magnum and Namorita destroyed Japan in one of the Exiles arcs. To add insult to injury, he apparently killed everyone of Japanese descent just to emphasize that he was to be taken seriously. He later did it again in a 1979 issue of The Uncanny X-men.
    • The island nation was once again destroyed in the Eternals.
  • In The New Universe, Ken Connell accidentally obliterates Pittsburgh and everything 50 miles across trying to get rid of the Star Brand. This leaves behind a huge Forbidden Zone known as The Pitt. It's made especially notable due to the mutagen-like "Pitt Juice" and the seven mile-high "Mt. Pittsburgh" volcano.
  • Supergod has a few cases of this. Unsurprising, considering it features an arms race involving superpowered beings. When Pakistan attempts to nuke Krishina, he responds by sending them back, turning Pakistan into a radioactive lava pit. Malak, Iran's attempt at creating an angel, generates a field that deconstructs all matter around himself. He destroys Tehran and makes his way to India, leaving a trail of destruction in his wake. When Krishina throws him into space, he collides with the moon, causing it to partially disintegrate. The effects this has on Earth are catastrophic, to say the least. The crowning achievement, however, has to go to Dajjal, one of the American superweapons (specifically, one made to go after the Middle East). He detonates his power source to commit suicide that destroys not only Jerry (the other American superhuman) and Krishna, but also causing an explosion that obliterates most of Eurasia.
  • Strontium Dog: New Britain has geological features such as the Greater London Crater and the Birmingham Gap, likely the result of nuclear strikes on the two cities.
  • In Superman #657, Superman is thrown into Earth with enough force to shatter the crust, kill billions, and trigger a nuclear winter. The villain also monologues about what happens on impact.
  • Superman: Distant Fires opens with a nuclear war that utterly devastates the planet. Both coasts of North America and the whole of Europe shatter as they're swallowed by boiling tsunamis, Africa is vaporized (for some reason), and huge amounts of vaporized water rain back to Earth in a radioactive deluge that reshapes landmasses.
  • Transformers: Shattered Glass: Southern California was destroyed in a cataclysmic attack during World War III in 1988. The entire area, now called Arizona Bay, has been quarantined due to the navigation hazards that the sunken buildings present.

    Fan Works 
  • The Heroes fanfic Deep Sleep has Peter and Sylar unintentionally shatter the North American continent during their fight. The resulting Bad Future has a huge gorge running from the Gulf of Mexico, through the Great Lakes, and up into Hudson Bay and along the St. Lawrence river to the Atlantic.
  • In From Bajor to the Black, Eleya narrates that the Cardassians blew the top off Mount Bahatan with a battleship's main disruptors so they could use it as a landing site for ore freighters. In the present, the site is a Bajoran Militia training base.
  • In We Are All Pokémon Trainers, the Alternate Timeline created by Cyrus using Primal Dialga has Gamer and DS fail to save Hoenn and Sinnoh from their legendary crises, leading to Hoenn getting partially flooded by Kyogre, and the Distortion World pouring into Sinnoh and making it a hellscape, leading all the humans to abandon the region. However, following Cyrus' defeat and its spinning off into a separate universe, Groudon and Giratina manage to fix them back.
  • It's very common to have Equestria teleport to Earth in TCB plot lines. However, The Conversion Bureau: The Other Side of the Spectrum, Twilight points out how much of a terrible idea that would be and just what sort of catastrophic damage this trope would cause.
    "Is that what you're saying? That somepony popped Equestria out of our reality and crashed it onto his? How's that even meant to work? Several trillion tons of continent does not make a gentle impact on another world, not without mega-tsunamis and earthquakes that would level entire cities, followed by a dust cloud that would blanket the world in an artificial winter lasting decades! And what about the world we leave behind, what about Equus? Would it just carry on spinning without a care, despite having a hole several-thousand-miles-across gouged out of the planet's crust? Even if you didn't breach the mantle, creating a supervolcano that would pull the planet inside-out, the change in mass and absence of the Princesses would throw the sun and moon out of their orbits, causing them to collide, or even worse, to impact with Equus itself! Anypony – anything, left behind would die, horribly! Every griffon, every dragon, zebra, reindeer, whatever!"
  • Scary News out of Tokyo-3: Happened as a result of violent earthquakes in the wake of Second Impact. The remains of Los Angeles and San Francisco are archipelagoes, and several communities in the former Mojave Desert are now only a few miles inland; Lancaster is described as a "thriving seaside community" in a news report.
  • Fantasy of Utter Ridiculousness: The site of Megas and Yuuka's battle is completely obliterated by an overpowered Meteor Move, leaving only an enormous crater. It's implied that Yuuka eventually has it repaired over time, though.
  • Rocketship Voyager. The Caretaker shows Captain Janeway a tri-vid image of Earth, which she notes is not contemporary because it doesn't show the extensive changes to the Mediterranean after a dam was constructed across the Straits of Gibraltar.

    Films — Animated 
  • Tom and Jerry: The Fast and the Furry: In an attempt to stop the other racers, Tom goes so far as to saw off an entire chunk of the Australian continent and push it into the ocean.
  • Scrat directly causes this in Ice Age: Continental Drift, after somehow falling all the way to the Earth's core. His subsequent chase for his acorn created the continents of Africa, Australia and Europe by carving into the landscape of Pangaea itself. At the end of the movie, he sinks the mythical city of Scratlantis, not only draining the entirety of North America but creating Death Valley as well, which is something Scrat's not too thrilled about.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Happens all over the place in 2012. Southern California is destroyed in an enormous earthquake, which creates a huge canyon in Coachella Valley before sinking all the land into the ocean. Las Vegas is split in half by a huge fissure. Hawaii is buried under lava. But perhaps the most impressive example is the Earth's crust shifting 23 degrees to the southwest, which places the new magnetic south pole somewhere in Wisconsin and conveniently moves the Himalayas closer to Jackson and his family. This also somehow causes the African continent to rise by several thousand feet, saving it from the resulting floods.
  • A.I.: Artificial Intelligence: The ice caps have melted, causing the oceans to rise significantly. When David and Teddy visit the ruins of New York City, the Statue of Liberty's torch and most of the buildings are just ruins sticking up out of the water.
  • Escape from L.A.: On August 23, 2000, a massive earthquake causes the San Fernando valley to flood, turning the Los Angeles area from Malibu to Anaheim into an island. The theocratic president for life decides to use it as the country's new maximum security prison, exiling anyone who doesn't conform with his new "Moral America" laws.
  • King Kong (2005): The tie-in book to the movie explains that Skull Island is gradually shrinking thanks to a combination of erosion and geological activity. Because of this, in a reflection of what happened at the end of the Cretaceous period, the predator population is outpacing that of the herbivores and is destined to crash as well before the entire island sinks into the sea.
  • The 2023 film Last Sentinel takes place in a future where Global Warming has reduced the landmass to only two continents which are at war with each other over what little remains of land and resources.
  • Both the original 1973 film and the 2006 remake of Nihon Chinbotsu (Japan Sinks) depicts the a weather survey group discovering that the Japanese archipelago is moving toward the Japanese trench, which will cause all the land to sink into the ocean. The latter has a computer-generated simulation of the crumbling Japanese archipelago being shown to government officials, with the first dramatic change being Hokkaido splitting in two.
  • Slipstream (1989) takes place in a world reshaped by earthquakes and the eponymous slipstream, used to handwave the Culture Chop Suey and location shooting from Malham Rocks in the UK to Cappadoccia in Turkey.
  • Lex Luthor's plan in Superman: The Movie is to pull off an epic (and apocalyptic) real estate con by buying all of the land he can in the Mojave Desert and then sinking California via launching a nuke to the San Andreas Fault so all of the land he purchased will become prime coast estate.
    • Several In-Universe years (most of them in jail) later, Luthor didn't learn his lesson: Superman Returns involves him trying to create an entirely new continent in the Atlantic utilizing Kryptonian technology. This will destroy most of North America and cause cataclysmic damage to the rest of the world. He intends to force them to turn to him as a savior.
    Luthor: You can print money, manufacture diamonds and people are a dime a dozen, but people will always need land. It's the one thing we aren't making anymore.
  • Waterworld has a similar situation to the above, except the entire world is underwater. Aside from the very tops of the Himalayas.

  • Mortal Engines: During the Sixty Minute War, the Earth's geography was forever changed. South China was flooded, Antarctica de-frosted, seas moved around, pretty much everything north of New York City froze solid, and Central America ceased to exist.
  • Worm:
    • This seems to be the Modus operandi for the Endbringers. Leviathan in particular has a streak of defacing local geography with his macro-hydrokinetic abilities. He's responsible for sinking Kyushu, which turned Japan into a third-world nation, and Newfoundland. He nearly does this to Brockton Bay, attempting to sink the city into an aquifer.
    • Later on, Scion obliterates Great Britain with relative ease. The island is said to fold "like crumpling paper in a hand."
  • A non-violent example (surprisingly) in The Man in the High Castle: during Project Farmland, the Germans drained the Mediterranean Sea, turning it into a fertile farmland.
  • In The Wheel of Time, the Breaking of the World was a cataclysm sparked by the Dark One corrupting and driving insane every magically capable male in the Age of Legends. Their uncontrolled power rearranged the map, flooding some regions and raising impassable mountain ranges; the ruins of one coastal city are found halfway up a mountain in the middle of a desert.
  • Mistborn's world of Scadrial has had a couple, courtesy of an artifact that bestows the power of a Piece of God for a few seconds every millennium:
    • In the Lord Ruler's Ascension, he moved his home country's mountain ranges, just to hide the evidence of his Ascension, and raised the Mordor-esque volcanoes that cover his Empire in ash in order to prevent the increased levels of sunlight - also his doing - from setting the whole planet on fire.
    • In the Final Ascension of Sazed, he fixes the damage the Lord Ruler caused the planet and creates a perfectly fertile river basin to nurture the new civilization.
  • 11/22/63: In the Bad Future, there's an offhanded mention that the earthquakes, which are caused by the protagonist's meddling with time, caused Hokkaido and three smaller Japanese islands to sink some time in 2007.
  • RCN: In the backstory, The War of Earthly Aggression ended about a thousand years ago with a massive asteroid bombardment that left the planet's geography unrecognizable. The plot of book three starts out as a treasure hunt for a large diamond engraved with the pre-bombardment continents.
  • In Thomas More's Utopia, the titular land used to be a peninsula, but King Utopos ordered the digging of a 15-mile wide canal to separate it from the mainland.
  • Down In The Bottomlands: As a result of a geological nail 5.5 million years ago, the Mediterranean basin remains a desert landscape known as the Bottomlands. The land is two kilometers below sea level, with little to no rainfall, brine lakes, and average summer temperatures reaching 40 °C, and vast canyons cut out of the continental shelf by European and African rivers. The Bottomlands are also host to unique plant and animal life not found anywhere else. A major butterfly of this world is the continued existence of Neanderthals, who have formed their own nation known as Tartesh, which covers most of Europe and the Bottomlands. Terrorists from Krepalga, a Homo Sapien nation based in the Middle East, have plans to detonate a starbomb on a fault line in the barrier mountains (where the real-world Strait of Gibraltar lies). This would trigger a huge flood that would turn the Bottomlands back into a sea, which would be a major economic benefit to them.
  • The Martian Chronicles: The entire Australian continent is atomized in a premature detonation of a nuclear stockpile, which sets the stage for a nuclear war on Earth.
  • Kris Longknife:
    • Worlds that have been attacked by the Planet Looters that Kris fights from Daring to Unrelenting essentially get strip-mined, with population centers destroyed by Orbital Bombardment, the oceans drained, and every easily accessible natural resource looted. They've even been known to reduce gas giant planets to shells of themselves to feed the millions of fusion reactors in their clan fleets. It's as much a religious exercise for the Planet Looters as a practical one: they're obsessed with obliterating any species in the galaxy that could pose them a threat, and until they encounter humanity and the Iteeche they've met no opposition.
    • As a way of establishing just how long the Iteeche have been a spacefaring civilization, when Kris visits their homeworld in Emissary, she observes that the Iteeche have taken so much water from their oceans for starship reaction mass over the centuries that the sea level drop is visible from orbit.
  • In the Horus Heresy series, after Horus manipulates the Emperor's orders to capture Magnus the Red, Leman Russ and the Space Wolves proceed to utterly devastate Magnus' homeworld of Prospero. A mix of orbital strikes, lasers, mass drivers, gravity bombs, targeted missiles, magma bombs, and atomic bombs rendered the planet unrecognizable. Cities were annihilated, mountains fell, valleys were filled with debris, seas flash-boiled, the surface was scoured by super-heated winds, and the bedrock itself was reshaped like molten metal on an anvil. Only one city, Tizca, survived the assault thanks to a psychic shield raised by the Thousand Sons. However, after this bombing, the Space Wolves landed on the planet and attacked the city. By the end, only 30 million of the world's civilians managed to escape.
  • N. K. Jemisin's Inheritance Trilogy: A historical Caligula made the mistake of ordering an enslaved Old God to destroy an enemy army without telling it what not to destroy. It promptly transformed into a miniature black hole that shattered the entire Maroland continent.
  • The Killing Star: A few moments after humanity first detects the existence of alien life, the Solar System is struck with thousands of projectiles travelling at 92% the speed of light. Their impacts on Earth are the most devastating, each one vaporizing everything for hundreds of miles around and flattening everything else left untouched. When the last survivors on the planet, who were in a submarine in the deep ocean at the time, arrive in what used to be the city of Long Beach, New York, the only remnant of human civilization they find is the plumbing from an underground swimming pool buried in the mud. New York City is nothing more than open water.
  • The Cthulhu Mythos features a lot of sunken islands and continents, from the Alien Geometries of R'lyeh to Atlantis, Lemuria, Mu, and Hyperborea, just to name a few.
  • Tolkien's Legendarium
    • Exaggerated in The History of Middle-earth. Volume 10, Morgoth's Ring, describes how Sauron goaded King Ar-Pharazôn of Númenor to wage war on his erstwhile allies the Valar. In response, the Valar called on Eru Ilúvatar, who went Rocks Fall, Everyone Dies on Ar-Pharazôn's army, sank the entire continent of Númenor beneath the ocean, removed the regions of Aman and Tol Eressëa from the world entirely (to become the Undying Lands), and even made the entire Flat World Arda round.
    • Similarly, at the end of the First Age, when the Host of the Valar marched to Middle-earth to finally stand against Morgoth, the battle was so destructive that it caused Beleriand (i.e. the entire northwestern portion of Middle-earth) to sink.
  • In H. G. Wells' The Country of the Blind, the titular land was originally a mountain valley that became a refuge for people fleeing the tyranny of the Spanish empire. It had rich soil, clean water, land for pastures, fruit-bearing plants, and an even climate. Then, following earthquakes and landslides triggered by a massive volcanic eruption, the valley was cut off from the outside world. Within this City in a Bottle, a disease began to spread that rendered anyone infected and any of their children blind. The villagers adapted and, after 15 generations of isolation, the concept of sight isn't even a memory for them.
  • In Last and First Men, the World State of the First Men came to an end due to a combination of a catastrophic energy crisis, the ensuing starvation and mass rioting, accidental releases of the ancient nerve plague, and, most extreme, a riot in a mine leads to a colossal explosion. The resulting radiation then triggered an underground chain reaction that snaked its way up from Patagonia into North America and then across the Bering Sea into Eurasia and Africa. Global volcanic eruptions, earthquakes, tsunamis, hurricanes, the melting of the ice caps and atmospheric contamination resulted in the death of all but thirty-five members of the human race, who were at a research station in the North Pole.
  • The Alternate History tale Green Antarctica re-imagines the continent as a habitable landmass with its own flora, fauna, and human population, called the Tsalal
  • Tunnel in the Sky: The entire world is suffering from an Overpopulation Crisis; China tried to solve theirs by taking over Australia, then creating a vast inland sea in an effort to make more of the landmass habitable.
  • In Distress, most of the artificial island Stateless floats unconnected to the ocean floor, thanks to lithophilic bacteria that keep it lighter than water. When EnGeneUity occupies the central city, the citizens flee to the edges of the island. Stateless's militia has the lithophiles degass the central area, causing it to sink, drowning the invaders and replacing the city with a lagoon.
  • Resurrection Day: During the Cuban War, when several nuclear missiles were launched at military targets, many of them struck the military and naval bases in Key West, Florida. It's mentioned in a summary of the attacks that the entire island was scoured down to the bedrock and covered by ocean.
  • In Sergey Lukyanenko's Borderlands setting, the plastic plague not only devastated the culture of the world of Centrum, but it also affected certain areas geographically. One prominent feature in the first book is a massive canyon that opened up thanks to vast underground oil reserves being consumed by the plague.
  • The Daevabad Trilogy: After freeing Daevabad, Nahri uses the full power of Suleiman's Key to move the City on the Water into the nearby mountains, restoring the marid's sacred lake to its original state. She then passes out.

    Live-Action TV 
  • 10.5 ends with the titular earthquake, which turns Los Angeles into an island. The sequel series, 10.5 Apocalypse features an ancient fault line that proceeds to split North America in half.
  • Defiance: During the Pale Wars between humans and Votans, the alien ships were mysteriously destroyed, causing their terraforming technology to rain down on Earth and begin affecting the planet. Geography, geology, and even the biosphere were radically changed; the planet is covered by dust and debris, the atmosphere is saturated by electromagnetic radiation and dangerous hybrids of earth and alien life run rampant. Perhaps no better example is the establishing shot of the St. Louis Gateway arch. One episode has characters go down into the mines and see the remains of the old St. Louis skyscrapers.
  • Doctor Who
    • In "The End of the World", Rose points out that after five billion years the Earth's continents should've shifted around. The Doctor explains that they did, but the National Trust shifted them back to the "Classic Earth" look.
    • In "The Parting of the Ways", the Dalek fleet bombards the Earth so severely that they distort the shapes of the continents.
  • Star Trek:

    Myths & Religion 
  • Atlantis could be considered the Ur-Example. It was described as a continent in the Atlantic ocean, just west of the Pillars of Heracles (today known as the Strait of Gibraltar). 9,000 years ago before the time of Plato, the gods struck the nation down for their greed and hubris, hitting it with earthquakes and floods. The prosperous island nation disappeared into the sea within a single day and night.
    • Speaking of Heracles, one of his Twelve labors was to capture the Mares of Diomedes, a group of horses who had Ascended to Carnivorism since Diomedes had kept them on a diet of human flesh. In one version of the story, Heracles managed to scare them onto a peninsula, which he then turned into an island by digging a trench and then flooding it. He then fed Diomedes to his own horses to calm them down before taking them.
  • Norse Mythology:
    • When Jormungandr releases his tail and rises from the depths, he will cause all the Earth's land to sink into the ocean.
    • Thor accidentally created three square valleys with his hammer Mjolnir.
    • In another myth, the goddess Gefjon separated the island of Zealand (where Copenhagen is now) from the mainland with a team of oxen and a plow.
  • According to the Book of Revelation, when the sixth seal is opened, a great earthquake will occur that will move every mountain and island out of place.
  • Paul Bunyan is supposedly responsible for much of North America's geography. He logged Michigan into the shape of a mitten because he lost his own mitten in the snow, Minnesota's 10,000 lakes formed from his footprints filling with water, he carved out everything from the Grand Canyon to Puget Sound, and he made the Great Plains by chopping down all the trees and flipped the states upside down so all their hills were buried and nothing but flat land was left on top.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Forgotten Realms: 4th Edition saw the Spellplague (brought on by the murder of Mystra, goddess of magic) haphazardly combine the Alternate Universes of Toril and Abeir, resulting in entire regions switching places between them. This resulted in among other things huge sections of the Underdark being turned into open chasms, the appearance of "earthmotes" (floating islands created by sections of Abeiran mountains being transported into corresponding locations on Toril that were open sky), and even the transplantation of a whole continent to Toril (to explain away dragonborns becoming a core race). Then the whole thing got a do-over in 5th Edition: Ao re-severed the dual worlds and restored Mystra, causing the transplanted geographies to start obeying the laws of physics again: the earthmotes came crashing down to earth.
  • Gamma World 1st Edition. The epic battle between the terrorist group The Apocalypse and its opponents released powerful energies that caused continents to buckle and oceans to boil, massively changing the surface of the Earth. Among other things, it caused inland seas to appear in the North American continent.
  • Warhammer 40,000: Earth (now called Terra) lost its oceans long ago and several mountain ranges have been leveled to make way for colossal cities.
  • Cyberpunk: In 1997, a thermonuclear war broke out in the Middle East. Called the Mideast Meltdown or the Suicide War, nations such as Syria, Iraq, Iran, Libya, Chad and the UAE have been reduced to nothing but fields of radioactive glass and slag. Cyberpunk 2077 also confirms that irradiated dust storms from these wastelands blow into Turkey, the Mediterranean and Europe annually.
  • Shadowrun:
    • February 2011 brought the Black Tide, a storm surge from the heavily polluted North Sea that drowned large parts of the Netherlands, Northern Germany and the Denmark Jutland. Most of the waters don't recede, leaving cities like Hamburg partially flooded.
    • In 2012, an earthquake hits the Russian Far East, splitting the Kamchatka peninsula off from Siberia and forming a kilometer-wide channel. This allows the land to remain under control of the Russian Republic.
    • Played With in California. In 2069, two major earthquakes known as The Twins (which measured 9.2 and 9.6 on the Richter Scale) hit Los Angeles, causing parts of Southern California and Central Valley to fall below sea level, and after being hit with a tsunami, Los Angeles and other coastal cities are cut off from the mainland, effectively becoming islands. However, it's noted this happened in defiance of plate tectonics; the sinking seems to have been something that occurred simultaneously with the quakes but was not caused by them. Some parts of the city are now tens of meters underwater, yet the buildings are completely intact and undamaged. It's later discovered that the topography of the area has significantly changed, with a vast network of astral constructs in the form of underground tunnels and lagoon-sized sinkholes appearing beneath California. This unnatural phenomenon is named the Deep Lacuna.

    Video Games 
  • Another Eden involves a lot of time travel, with the shape of continents and geographical features changing between eras. What was once the lush fields of the Charol Plains in Antiquity has become the Rucyana Sands by the present era. In the future, same landmass turns into the flying island with a large body of water.
  • In background material for Deus Ex, a massive earthquake hit the West Coast in the 2030's, destroying much of San Francisco and dumping all of California south of Lompoc into the sea. The ruins of Pasadena now sit on the new coastline and world maps show North America missing the Baja California peninsula.
  • Fallout:
    • During the Great War in Fallout's backstory, it's said that entire mountain ranges were created as the ground buckled and moved under the strain of thousands of atomic explosions.
    • In Fallout: New Vegas, over the course of the Courier's travels through the Divide in the Lonesome Road DLC, in order to move forward they launch a nuke and inadvertently create a mile-wide crater Ulysses refers to as the "Courier's Mile".
  • At the halfway point of Final Fantasy VI, Kefka unbalances the world and completely changes the landscape. Continents are split, separating towns once a short walk from each other, a new island appears in the corner of the world, and the Serpent Trench, which used to run underwater, now sits above the surface.
  • Genshin Impact: four of the playable characters are known to have drastically changed the landscape, whether it be make islands (Zhongli), move islands (Venti), create a long radioactive trench (Ei), or create a cliff and change how boats must go to make port in their nation (Klee). The first three are archons (gods); the latter is an adolescent elf girl who is a bomb expert thanks to her omnipotent sorceress mother.
  • In Grand Theft Auto III, a massive construction site sits where there was a neighborhood in Liberty City Stories. Why? Because Toni set off a massive explosion under it under orders from Donald Love.
  • Guilty Gear: On September 2, 2074, the entire nation of Japan was destroyed by a gamma ray blast from Justice, which kicked off the Crusades between humanity and the Gears. There's now a massive hole in the ocean where the archipelago used to be, with huge waterfalls pouring down, and the few remaining Japanese now live under surveillance in colonies protected by magic barriers. This wasn't just done as the opening volley to the Crusades, but both the destruction and the colony program were attempts to stop the Universal Will from transforming them all into living antimatter bombs.
  • In Half-Life 2, Earth's been under control of the Combine for twenty years. They've been steadily draining the planet's resources, particularly water. Check out the designs of all the levels that feature waterways or oceans, there's plenty of clues in the scenery that the water level used to be about 5 meters higher than it is now. The amount of water that's been stolen to make global water levels drop that much is truly mind-boggling.
  • Halo: The Covenant used a tactic called Glassing, which involves Orbital Bombardment with heavy plasma weaponry, turning everything on the surface- rocks, soil, buildings- into a molten mess that cools and hardens to form barren fields of lechatelierite, while bodies of water are either vaporized or left contaminated with ash and the atmosphere may be boiled off. This process has been used to render entire planets uninhabitable, and while it can be reversed via terraforming, doing so takes centuries.
    • That having been said, the Covenant's potential to "glass" entire planets is subject to a strong degree of exaggeration In-Universe. While they certainly have the capacity to reduce an entire planet's surface to glass using their energy weapons, they tend to focus on population centers; glassing a whole world requires huge amounts of time and resources, something they can't expend at will during a war.
  • The Legend of Zelda:
    • In the backstory of The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker, the golden goddesses flooded Hyrule in order to save it from Ganon, creating the Great Sea and its many islands from the tallest mountains. Hyrule Castle and its surroundings are preserved in a shielded location beneath the ocean, but at the end of the game, King Daphnes Nohansen Hyrule wishes on the Triforce that they be washed away by the ocean entirely.
    • In The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword, the Lanayru Desert was originally a lush coastal area, before it dried out over the centuries, which you see whenever Link activates a Timeshift Stone.
    • This happens in the opening of The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom, as Ganondorf's awakening causes a massively destructive event dubbed The Upheaval, resulting in large portions of Hyrule looking radically different from how it appeared in Breath of the Wild, including the appearance of huge chasms, islands in the sky, ancient ruins falling from above, pools of corrupting Gloom everywhere, and of course Hyrule Castle rising into the sky. This is on top of changes that are not directly caused by the Upheaval, such as quicksand pits appearing in the Gerudo Desert, the lava on Death Mountain receding, and many caves opening up across the land.
  • In the backstory of Mass Effect, an unknown civilization fired a kinetic weapon with such power that a glancing blow from its bullet left the planet Klendagon with a rift hundreds of kilometers long. Mass Effect has a sidequest set on that planet's moon, giving you an ample opportunity to see the rift with your own eyes. In Mass Effect 2, Cerberus has managed to calculate where it came from, finding both the weapon and the now-disabled Reaper it was aimed at... in a completely different star system.
  • Pokémon:
    • Tyranitar's Pokédex entry states that it can knock down mountains and bury rivers when it's angry. Maps have to be redrawn accordingly.
    • Aggron does the inverse of Tyranitar, restoring its environment after natural disasters such as landslides or file by hauling over topsoil and planting trees.
    • In Pokémon Gold and Silver, according to legend the Lake of Rage was formed from a bunch of Gyarados creating a massive storm that left a giant crater, which then filled with rainwater, creating the lake we know today.
      • Visiting Kanto in the postgame reveals that during the Time Skip between the first and second generations, Cinnabar Island had a volcanic eruption that destroyed it. Only a Pokemon Center remains of the town, and Blaine has moved his Gym Leader battle location to the nearby Seafoam Islands.
    • Pokémon Ruby and Sapphire:
      • Kyogre possesses the ability to expand the oceans by flooding the land, while Groudon can expand the continents by raising land and boiling away the water. They did battle in ancient times. The battle repeats itself at the culmination of the Team Aqua/Team Magma B-plot, but the Player Character resolves the issue before any significant damage is done.
      • In Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire, Sootopolis City's new backstory has it being formed from a meteor striking the area where it's located now, rather than it being an extinct volcano crater like in the original.
    • In Pokémon Diamond and Pearl, Floraroma Town used to be a desolate hill until someone expressed thanks for a blessing of nature and the entire hill burst into bloom, which is implied to have been the work of Shaymin. The evidence being that during the Oak's Letter event it turns the rocky hill both Lucas/Dawn and Professor Oak are standing into a grassy flower field after the former gives thanks for their journey, before heading off to the Flower Paradise.
    • The Giant Chasm in Pokémon Black and White and its sequel was created from a meteor impact that is implied to have contained the original dragon that Reshiram, Zekrom, and Kyurem all came from.
  • Project Wingman: The Calamity caused major tectonic upheaval around the world that significantly altered the geography, especially in the Ring of Fire region; so far we've been shown that the western coast of North America is now separated from the mainland by the "Scarred Sea" (essentially a reopened Western Interior Seaway), a portion of southern China had also been detached from the rest of Asia, and it appears that the Malay Archipelago had simultaneously experienced considerable gains of dry land in the western half and lost several of its major eastern islands (namely New Guinea and the Philippines).
  • World of Warcraft has a Cataclysm Backstory involving the Great Sundering. Ten thousand years ago, Queen Azshara created a portal for Sargeras in the Well of Eternity, the heart of Azeroth's magical power, to lead his forces to conquer the world. With no other choice, Malfurion Stormrage and his troops destroyed the well, which set off a catastrophic chain of events. The continent of Kalimdor shattered into four smaller landmasses and several islands. The area where the well occupied is now a swirling vortex known as the Maelstrom.
  • Annihilation Events in Xenoblade Chronicles 3 occur in locations where too much of Aionios' mysterious black fog is concentrated, resulting in perfectly spherical gaps where once land existed. The Queens of Agnus and Keves (or, rather, robotic duplicates of them under Moebius control eventually come to weaponise these phenomena in the form of gigantic laser cannons atop their castles, one of which is used to seemingly destroy the City in the hilt of Swordmarch. If the player attempts to return to that location in the aftermath, they will be greeted by a spacious field of rocky debris referred to as 'The Cavity'.

  • In Erfworld, the Dirtamancer Sizemore gets to do this through a powerful Mental Fusion that lets him awaken a dormant volcano. Once the rush runs off, though, he's absolutely horrified.
    Sizemore: It was magnificent, Warlord. Horrifying, but... I can't describe it. I actually modified the terrain type, like a Titan.

    Web Original 
  • The nuclear war in 1983: Doomsday devastated much of the world. The Netherlands lost much of its levee system and is now a forgotten land buried under a brackish, radioactive swamp. New York City was hit with so many nukes that, when scouts finally arrived back in the city a few years later, they found open water where Manhattan and Brooklyn used to be.
  • In 17776, the ice caps have long since melted. New York and the Statue of Liberty are partially submerged, Lousiana and Florida have disappeared, and the San Francisco Bay, now known as Lake Sacramento, runs the length of California, having spilled into the Central Valley. Unlike most examples, it isn't much of a concern for humanity, all of them having become immortal and have conquered their problems aside from boredom.
  • In Red vs. Blue, when talking about Project Freelancer, Tex mentions that there are only 49 states, which leads to Tucker stating "poor Florida." This reflected in later seasons, where Florida is no longer visible on the American continent and the United States' flag only has 49 stars. Turns out the Counselor actually destroyed Florida to cover up the existence of Agent Florida, aka Captain Butch Flowers.
  • Has happened on more than a few occasions in SCP Foundation, but they've all been covered up as just being part of Earth's natural geography. For example, the Marianas Trench wasn't around before a massive containment breach. It also wasn't initially underwater.
    • One proposal for SCP-001 reveals that the Gulf of California was carved out by the entity that the Church of the Broken God summoned in 1943.
    • The Broken Masquerade canon has the Foundation exposed after an incident involving anomalous objects destroys North Korea. There's mention of a giant hole and hurricanes produced by the air and water rushing in to fill it.
  • Episode 6 of Super Mario Bros. Z is called "Brawl on a Vanishing Island" for good reason. When Axem Red uses a chaos emerald to power up the Breaker Beam, the resulting blast levels the mountains. By the end, Mecha Sonic blows up the entire island.
  • What If? entry Drain the Oceans shows maps of Earth in various phases of being drained from water by a portal at the bottom of Challenger Deep. The "sequel" follows that up with maps of Mars getting filled with water dumped from Earth.

    Western Animation 
  • It's not yet confirmed if the major geographic divergences in Steven Universe are due to the Gems' alien interference and advanced terraforming technology, but it's been heavily implied. These changes include: Florida being an island; Australia divided by a winding trench; a large chunk of western Africa seemingly moved across the Atlantic and stuck onto South America with an island chain between them; and the region of Siberia being largely replaced by a massive sea. Gem activity has also been shown to have created large swathes of rugged, infertile terrain in the process of incubating new Gem soldiers.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic: At the start of Season 3, a new city called the Crystal Empire appeared in an area that used to be a frozen wasteland. Canon maps of Equestria drawn since then have had to change to incorporate the new city.
  • A creative example occurs in The Fairly OddParents! when Timmy wishes for an older brother. To explain his absence, Timmy states that he'd been studying medicine in Tibequador and then wishes that the country were real. Cosmo and Wanda situate the nation in Central America and it seems to be populated mostly by tribal peoples. Later, in Timmy the Barbarian, Mr. Crocker (as a powerful wizard) asks Timmy what the capital of Tibequador is, implying that the nation was never unwished.
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender:
    • Avatar: The Last Airbender: Almost 300 years before the start of the series, a powerful earthbending warlord named Chin the Great had conquered most of the Earth Kingdom, save for Ba Sing Se and the peninsula home to Avatar Kyoshi. In order to protect her home, Kyoshi severed it from the rest of the continent, creating Kyoshi's island. As a consequence, Chin, who had been standing at the mouth of the peninsula, ended up plummeting to his death as the ground beneath him became unstable.
    • The Legend of Korra:
      • it's revealed that the Spirit Wilds that covered the globe during the Era of Raava were created when Vaatu first broke the barrier between the human and spirit worlds.
      • Following Korra's defeat of Unavaatu, part of Republic City gets covered with vines from the Spirit World.
      • After bending the energy of the spirit cannon during the final episode of the series, Korra ends up creating a third spirit portal, leaving a vine covered crater around it.
  • Adventure Time: After the Great Mushroom War, the land of Ooo was left with a large piece missing.
  • Transformers: Animated has Dinobot Island, originally known as North Sister Island, as a volcanic island inexplicably set in the middle of Lake Erie. A large portion of it ends up getting destroyed thanks to Blackrachnia's experiments with transwarp.
  • Total Drama: In the episode The Final Wreck-ening, the entire island ends up sinking after Chef Hatchet uses a land drill to carve up the moats for the final challenge.
  • In the Bugs Bunny short Rebel Rabbit, one of the ways Bugs works on increasing his bounty involves sawing off the entire state of Florida and pushing it down towards South America.

    Real Life 
  • The page quote refers to the Battle of Messines in World War I, when the British Army attempted to break through German fortifications by tunneling beneath several strong points and planting explosives. The craters left by the operation are still visible today (most if not all have filled up with water over the years). More generally, in some parts of central Europe you can still see the lines of World War I trenches and fortifications: among other things, the Verdun battlefield monument has areas where the ground looks like choppy seas from artillery bombardments.
  • This naturally happens over long stretches of time with continental drift. Examples include the collision between the former island continent of India with Asia, which created the Himalayan mountains; the subduction of several oceanic plates under the North and South American plates, resulting in several sequences of volcanism and uplift that created the Andes, Rockies, Sierra Nevada, Cascades and other mountain ranges, and of course the splitting of the Pangean supercontinent.
  • Land reclamation involves artificially claiming new land from bodies of water.
  • An accidental example would be the (re)creation of the Salton Sea. In the early 1900's, farmers were irrigating the basin known as the Salton Sink using canals dug to the Colorado River. In 1905, heavy rain and melting snow caused the river to swell, overflowing the canals and diverting the water into former riverbeds that emptied into the basin. This gradually caused it to flood over the course of two years as engineers tried desperately to stop the flooding. Today, the Salton Sea is the largest lake in California. It's also the least-appealing.
  • The 2011 Tohoku earthquake moved Japan up to eight feet sideways in some places.
  • 3,600 years ago, the Greek island of Santorini experienced one of the largest volcanic eruptions in human history. It led to the disappearance of the Minoan civilization and transformed the island into an archipelago.
  • Sea levels can entirely change the shape of landmasses. During the last ice age, the sea level fell enough that British Isles were joined to Europe as a peninsula, Borneo and Sumatra were joined to Southeast Asia, Australia merged with New Guinea, and a land bridge called Beringia joined Siberia with Alaska over what is now the Bering Sea. This bridge is believed to be how many species, including humans, migrated to the Americas. On the other end of the scale, many dire predictions about climate change suggest major coastal regions will be underwater.
  • The Cumberland Gap is a 12-mile pass through the Cumberland mountains, a region of the Appalachians. It was a key passageway through the mountain range for both natives and settlers. A major feature of this gap is the Middlesboro crater, which is home to the town of Middlesboro, Kentucky. Geological analysis has suggests this was formed from the impact of an asteroid the size of a football field around 300 million years ago.
  • Atlantropa was a proposal to build a series of giant dams across the Mediterranean, causing the water level to drop by 100 meters in the western part of the sea (west of Sicily, specifically) and 200 meters in the east. Once this happened, there would be plenty of land available for colonization between Europe and Africa, along with massive amounts of power generated by the dam. The designer hoped this would put an end to growing hostilities and usher in a new era of peace. A concurrent dam project in the Congo River basin would serve to refill the paleolithic Lake Mega-Chad in order to irrigate the Sahara. The problem was, all the new land would be salt flats, completely unusable for any kind of agriculture, and would have left the local countries' port cities stranded far inland, which would have devastated the Mediterranean's trade networks and economies. Plus, as some meteorologists have suggested, the project could have diverted the Gulf Stream and sent temperatures falling across most of Europe.
  • Volcanic eruptions can cause this. Some examples include:
    • Surtsey, an island south of Iceland, was created by a volcanic eruption that lasted from 1963 until 1967. In fact, many islands are created via undersea eruptions.
    • Parícutin is a volcano that emerged from a fissure in a farmer's cornfield on February 20, 1943. The eruption lasted until 1952, when the volcano reached a height of 424 meters.
    • When Sakurajima erupted in 1914, the amount of lava released was so much that once it cooled the island had become a peninsula.
    • Mount St. Helens before and after the big 1980 eruption.
  • Long Island and Manhattan Island, as well as the rest of the region referred to as the Outer Lands, were carved out of the North American continent by retreating glaciers roughly 11,000 years ago.
  • Before the theory of plate tectonics superseded them, older geological theories tried to explain various features using this trope.
    • The expanding Earth theory was an early attempt to explain how continents could move or how underwater mountain ranges could form. The theory suggests that the Earth was once much smaller, but gradually grew in size, causing the crust to grow larger and landmasses to move.
    • An early theory about the similar fossils found in distant lands was that they were all once connected via land bridges. The most famous of these is probably Lemuria, named in Philip Sclater's 1864 article The Mammals of Madagascar, which he claimed once connected India, Madagascar, and Western Australia before sinking. While it's no longer taken seriously by scientists, this theory is still banded about by some conspiracy theorists who believe that Atlantis was real and that this explains how it disappeared. It also shows up in Tamil nationalist literature that associates Lemuria with Kumari Kandam, an ancient lost continent in the Indian Ocean that is said to have been a cradle of civilization and the birthplace of Tamil culture. And of course, lots of Two-Fisted Tales adventure stories set (or otherwise written) in the modern day use it to give a scientific-ish explanation for their Lost World settings.
  • While at the end of the last ice age the Sahara was about as dry as it is today, monsoon rains roughly 10,500 to 9,000 years ago transformed most of it into lush grassland over the relatively short period of a few centuries. Theories on how it turned back into desert range from gradual re-desertification over the millennia to a shift of the Earth's axis disrupting the monsoon system.
  • The Zanclean flood is a theorized flooding event 5.53 million years ago that refilled the Mediterranean Sea after the Messinian Event either partially or completely dried it out, in a geological blink of an eye. (Estimated to be either a few months or up to two years.)
  • A similar event only a few thousand years ago that expanded the Black Sea (the evidence is visible in observation of the now-underwater ancient shoreline, and in fossilized freshwater shellfish that couldn't survive in its current salty water) is thought by some archaeologists to have inspired the flood myths prevalent in a number of cultures, including Utnapishtim's tale in The Epic of Gilgamesh and the Noah's Ark narrative in Genesis 6-9.
  • Chesapeake Bay was formed by a meteor impact at the end of the Eocene about 35.5 million years ago, its shape being carved out by erosion afterwards over millions of years.
  • The vanishing of the Aral Sea came about because of a Soviet program to divert the two rivers feeding it to irrigate the desert. Said irrigation was incredibly inefficient, faulty, and didn't produce nearly as many crop yields as they hoped it would.
  • In 1977, geologists discovered a line running horizontally along hillsides in North Brazil roughly 120 meters above sea level. This line marked the water line of an ancient lake about 80,000 square kilometers in size. This lake existed for thousands of years and had people living on its shores for much of that time. The lake disappeared in 1690, when a massive earthquake opened up a fault in the bedrock, causing the water to drain. Many believe that this lake was actually the legendary Lake Parime, home to Manoa and El Dorado. Given the time period and the failed expeditions to find the lake, this could actually be the case.
  • The South China Sea territorial dispute partially involves this. China has been building artificial islands on coral reefs and rocky outcrops in the South China Sea, in hopes of gaining territorial rights to the surrounding waters. This goes against the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (to which China is not a signatory), and so the other nations of the region (and, by extension, their primary naval ally, the United States) dispute China's right to do so.
  • People have been doing this on a small scale for millennia, by digging canals, building dams, creating reservoirs, felling forests, draining marshes, dredging rivers, and irrigating farmland.
  • Beavers are capable of changing the flow of rivers and creating wetlands through the creation of dams, with the absolute largest capable of being seen from space.
  • The 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake tilted the tectonic plate under North Sentinel island, lifting it by 1-2 metres (3 to 7 ft). This exposed large tracts of the surrounding coral reefs, turning them permanently into dry land or shallow lagoons, which extended the island's boundaries by as much as 1 kilometer on the west and south sides.
  • The Phoenician city-state of Tyre, today in Lebanon, was originally built on an island. Alexander the Great tried to conquer it, but he was outmatched at naval combat. So he ordered the construction of a land bridge, turning the island into a peninsula.
  • Adam's Bridge, a shallow limestone shoal in the Gulf of Mannar, is the remnant of a land bridge that used to connect India and Sri Lanka. According to records from the Rameshwaram temple, the last strand of the bridge was traversable on foot until the 15th century, supposedly when a single cyclone destroyed most of it around 1480.
  • There exists an archipelago off the coast of Germany called Heligoland, which has traded hands over the centuries and became a major source of dispute between the British and German Empires, given its role as a naval base. After World War II, the British carried out Operation Big Bang, which involved detonating 6,700 metric tons of surplus ammunition to destroy the bunkers and military installations on the island. It was originally thought that this would completely destroy Heligoland, but while it was the largest non-nuclear explosion at the time, most of the main island survived.
  • Hunga Tonga–Hunga Haʻapai erupted in 2022. Somewhat like Santorini, there are now a few small islands, where there use to be one big island.
  • The Great Raft was a log jam more than 200 kilometers in length that clogged the Red River and Atchafalaya River to the point that the resulting diversions of water created many bayous and lakes around Louisiana and Texas. The invention of steam boats and nitroglycerin in the 19th century made it possible for United States engineers to clear away the Raft and make the Mississippi River more easily navigable at the expense of lowering the water levels of those bayous and lakes, sometimes to the point of draining them entirely. Notably, the town of Jefferson, Texas went from the second-largest inland port in America at 30,000 people to a landlocked town of under 2,000 today due to Caddo Lake and Big Cypress Bayou, the sites of most of Jefferson's boat traffic, draining so low that riverboats could no longer traverse them.