An earthquake measuring 7.7 on Richter scale hit western Pakistan on Tuesday, and has resulted in the formation of a completely new island near the port of Gwadar, off the southern coast of the country. Local media in Pakistan published a photo of the new island, and the residents flocked to the shore to see the new formation.
In the massive earthquake, at least 150 people died, according to officials, and the toll is expected to rise further as the military force in Pakistan continues with the rescue mission. One level houses in the earthquake hit area perished with people inside.
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Island may be temporary
Residents Ali Mohammad, 60, and Azeem Baloch, 57 of the Gwadar said that back in 1968 an earthquake produced an Island, which was there for one year and then disappeared.
Seismologists also hold that the island formation is a temporary one and emerged from the mud that broke from the volcano and appeared on the surface.
“Sandy layers underground are shaken, and sand grains jiggle and become more compact,” John, a seismologist at the Lamont Doherty Earth Observatory at Columbia University told NBC News.
Armbruster said that the liquefaction process of sand and mud layers is usual after the earthquake, but the occurrence of these islands is the after-effect of strong earthquakes of magnitudes at least 7 or 8. He said that in the 1940s also, a massive island emerged from the sea in this region, but could not survive. The British Indian Geological survey noticed the new island formation after the earthquake occurred near Karachi.
Earthquake might not be sole reason for Island
According to Paul Earle, a USGS geophysicist, researchers at the United States Geological survey are looking into the reasons behind the formation of a new island, but there is no confirmation as yet.
Earle said that islands are not created due to ground being pushed by the earthquake, it is more of an after-effect of shifting sediments. However, he does not deny the possibility of a mud volcano that could result in the island formation, but he believes that an earthquake is not a necessity to trigger mud volcanoes, as there are mud volcanoes in Yellowstone not set off by earthquakes.
Stephan Graham, a geologist at Stanford University, said that Baluchistan coast mud volcanoes are made of watery, loose sediment layers, and there are even more clear islands that appear suddenly in other parts of the world.
These islands are formed in places where one tectonic plate slips beneath another, like in the hungry subduction zone under New Zealand. He said that in San Andreas, where Pacific Plate and the North American plates slide beneath one another, such kind of islands are a rarity. He supported the idea that a fairly large earthquake should occur to create such an island.