September 25, 2013 – Weird Island Appears After Pakistan Earthquake: Pictured above, a new island formed by a mud volcano emerged offshore of Balochistan, Pakistan on Nov. 26, 2010 in about the same area as yesterday’s (Sept. 25, 2013) new island.
A new island emerged from the ocean offshore of the city of Gwadar, Pakistan (see note), after a strong magnitude-7.7 earthquake shook the country yesterday (Sept. 24).
The mound appears to be 20 to 40 feet (6 to 12 meters) high and 100 feet (30 m) wide, Gwadar’s Mr. Moazzam Jah, a district police officer, told Pakistan’s Geo News. It rose out of the sea at a spot located about 350 feet (100 m) from the coast, he said.
The news sparked lively chatter among geologists, who debated whether the hill was a landslide, a fault scarp or even a hoax. A fault scarp marks vertical displacement along a fault, anything from a small step to a huge, steep cliff.
Scientists are still far from consensus, but many think that Pakistan’s newest piece of land may be a mud volcano.
Geologist Bob Yeats, an expert on Pakistan’s earthquake hazards, said he’s waiting until he hears from his colleagues in Pakistan before judging the case. The two most likely possibilities are a landslide or a mud volcano.
Yeats said Gwadar (see note below) is several hundred kilometers southwest of the earthquake’s epicenter. “The island is a long way from where they reported the earthquake. We’re looking at two different things,” said Yeats, an emeritus professor at Oregon State University.
A mud volcano is a likely possibility because Gwadar’s coastline already has several of the gurgling, steamy cones, both onshore and at sea. One suddenly popped up where sea level was 30 to 60 meters (100 to 200 feet) deep on Nov. 26, 2010, creating an island. NASA satellites snapped a photo of the birth (see picture above). Therefore, it is highly unlikely that the new island is a fault scarp.
In 1945, the magnitude-8.1 Makran temblor triggered the formation of mud volcanoes offshore of Gwadar, according to a study on mud volcanoes in Pakistan published in 2005. A recent study in the journal Nature Geoscience also suggests the 1945 earthquake released tons of methane from the seafloor.
Note: Gwadar is a planned free trade port city on the southwestern warm water Arabian Sea coastline of Pakistan in Balochistan province. It is the district headquarters of Gwadar District and, in 2011, was designated the winter capital of Balochistan province. Gwadar has a population of approximately 85,000. Gwadar is located on the shores of the Arabian Sea in the western province of Balochistan. It is about 533 km from Karachi and 120 km from the Iranian border. Gwadar Port is located at the mouth of the Persian Gulf, just outside the Strait of Hormuz, near the key shipping routes in and out of the Persian Gulf. Gwadar Port is a newly built strategic warm-water, deep-sea port, which was developed by the Government of Pakistan and the Government of China at a cost of USD $248 million and inaugurated by the President of Pakistan on 20 March 2007. (Credits – Live Science’s, OurAmazingPlanet and Wikipedia).
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