Sunday, September 29, 2013

Earthquake pangs and the rise of new born mud volcano off the coast of Pakistan

Earthquake relief is yet to reach certain remote places of Pakistan's Sindh and Balochistan province due to 7.7 magnitude earthquake (on the Richter scale) that struck the region leaving 500 people dead followed by saturday's massive aftershock measuring 6.8. The earthquake owes its birth to grinding of the two plates Indian and the Eurasian plates along the Chaman fault zone, triggering the destructive temblors. The official death count stands at 515, unofficial figures are as high as 700, with more than 800 injured (and counting). The earthquake has left more than 50,000 people homeless in these areas. I hope they receive the required help and attention.

But what has caught the eyes of many people is the rise of a new island off the port of Gwadar after the Fridays 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. 

The new island that emerged from the sea following Fridays earthquake, off Pakistan's Gwadar coastline in the Arabian sea. (Source: Reuters)
The reason for the rise of the mud volcano is attributed to the seismic waves causing fluid material under the seafloor to expand under the crust giving way to pressurized fluid and gases to rise, spitting out buried mud with rocks and other seafloor creatures. Evidence of rocks and stones suggest that the mud might have been thrown out of the sea at great speed. The island will soon disappear under the sea as the waves will erode away the island rocks.

Further reading on the causes of the rise of mud volcano - and also images from NASA Earth Observatory (before and after the rise of the new island).

And similar articles of rise of similar new mud volcano islands off the coast of Trinidad and Tobago in the recent century.

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