Thursday, September 26, 2013

How Did the Pakistan Earthquake Create a Mud Island?

A mud volcano is thought to be behind new landmass.
 
People walk on an island.

A magnitude 7.7 earthquake struck a remote part of Pakistan with enough force to create a small island.

On Tuesday, a 7.7-magnitude earthquake struck a remote part of western Pakistan, killing more than 260 people and displacing hundreds of thousands. It also triggered formation of a new island off the coast, which has quickly become a global curiosity.

But scientists say the island won't last long.

"It's a transient feature," said Bill Barnhart, a research geophysicist with the U.S. Geological Survey. "It will probably be gone within a couple of months. It's just a big pile of mud that was on the seafloor that got pushed up."

Indeed, such islands are formed by so-called mud volcanoes, which occur around the world, and Barnhart and other scientists suspect that's what we're seeing off the Pakistani coast.

News organizations have reported that the Pakistani island suddenly appeared near the port of Gwadar after the quake. The island is about 60 to 70 feet (18 to 21 meters) high, up to 300 feet (91 meters) wide, and up to 120 feet (37 meters) long, reports the AFP.

Media reports have located the new island at just a few paces to up to two kilometers off the coast of Pakistan. It is about 250 miles (400 kilometers) from the epicenter of the earthquake.

For the rest of the story: http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2013/09/130925-gwadar-pakistan-island-mud-volcano-earthquake/

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