Quake creates island off Pakistan coast
KARACHI, Pakistan (AP) — Alongside the carnage of Pakistan’s massive earthquake came a new creation: a small island of mud, stone and bubbling gas pushed forth from the seabed.
Experts say the island was formed by the massive movement of the earth during the 7.7-magnitude quake that hit Pakistan’s Baluchistan province on Tuesday, killing at least 285 people.
“That big shock beneath the earth causes a lot of disturbance,” said Zahid Rafi, director of the National Seismic Monitoring Center.
The island appeared off the coast of Gwadar, a port about 330 miles (533 kilometers) from Pakistan’s largest city of Karachi and 75 miles (120 kilometers) from Iran.
Navy geologist Mohammed Danish told Pakistan’s Geo Television that a Pakistani Navy team visited the island Wednesday. He said the mass was about 60 feet (18 meters) high, 100 feet (30 meters) wide and 250 feet (76 meters) long, making it a little wider than a tennis court and slightly shorter than a football field.
Such islands are not entirely unusual to scientists who study the earth and its sometimes violent movements.
Marco Bohnhoff, a professor of seismology at the German Center for Geosciences in Potsdam said there are two ways such islands can be created.
In the first scenario, the earth’s crust violently lifts up out of the water. In the second, the earthquake triggers the movement and release of gases locked in the earth resulting in a flow called a “mud volcano.”
Experts are still trying to determine what caused this island, but it could have been a mud volcano, Rafi said. Scientists will have to analyze the material to see what it’s made of.