Sudden Island: Pakistan earthquake causes offshore uplift (UPDATE: Fascinating)

Deadly quake in Pakistan creates rare side effect.

Quake kills 45 in Pakistan, creates new island in sea | Reuters.

A major earthquake hit a remote part of western Pakistan on Tuesday, killing at least 45 people and prompting a new island to rise from the sea just off the country’s southern coast.

The earthquake was so powerful that it caused the seabed to rise and create a small, mountain-like island about 600 meters (yards) off Pakistan’s Gwadar coastline in the Arabian Sea.

Television channels showed images of a stretch of rocky terrain rising above the sea level, with a crowd of bewildered people gathering on the shore to witness the rare phenomenon.

It’s not yet certain what caused the new ground to appear. Speculation is that it was a mud volcano, a fault scarp or the result of a landslide. Scientists will check out the feature in the daylight hours. Older residents recalled that this had happened before, in 1968, as the result of a mud eruption due to seismic movement. The resulting island eroded in a year.

pakistan island

Ground uplift can occur after an earthquake. This is an excellent piece describing sudden geomorphic changes at a subduction zone.

Megathrust earthquakes, coastal uplift, and emergent marine terraces of Costa Rica’s Nicoya Peninsula.

Here are other examples.

Historic Earthquakes: Prince William Sound Alaska 1964.

365 Crete earthquake – uplifted a coral bed ten meters.

I’ll follow this story to see what new information is found. Stay tuned for updates.

UPDATE (26-Sept-2013) More has come to light about the newly emerged land offshore of Pakistan as people land on it and investigate. It is made of sand, some rock, solid rock and mud. The sediment is emitting methane gas. It’s an oval shaped island about 250ft to 300ft (76-91m) in length, and about 60 to 70ft above the water.

BBC News – Pakistan quake island off Gwadar ‘emits flammable gas’.

Rashid Tabrez, the director-general of the Karachi-based National Institute of Oceanography, says the energy released by the seismic movements of these fault-lines activates inflammable gases in the seabed.

“The seabed near the Makran coast has vast deposits of gas hydrates, or frozen gas having a large methane content,” he explained.

“These deposits lay compressed under a sediment bed that is 300m-800m thick.”

“When the plates along the fault-lines move, they create heat and the expanding gas blasts through the fissures in the earth’s crust, propelling the entire sea floor to the surface.”

The island that popped up near Gwadar is the fourth in this region since 1945, and the third during the last 15 years, he said.

new island
There is a video at the above link which describes how this is a relatively common side effect from quakes near shore. The sea bed will be disrupted at least temporarily. It is not expected that this new island will last very long and may erode away and/or sink within a year.

Tip: Jeb Card

  9 comments for “Sudden Island: Pakistan earthquake causes offshore uplift (UPDATE: Fascinating)

  1. Bob
    September 24, 2013 at 8:20 PM

    I wonder if catastrophist creationists are going to use this as evidence that “GODDIDITREADTHEBIBLE.”

  2. F-89
    September 24, 2013 at 8:47 PM

    I forgot that this was possible-the first thought I had was volcanic action..Or Ry’leh

  3. spookyparadigm
    September 24, 2013 at 10:15 PM

    Bob, the tip I sent into DN pretty much said exactly that.

  4. September 25, 2013 at 4:23 AM

    Surtsey Island, off the southern coast of Iceland, appeared after a volcanic eruption in 1967. It is still there today and is now a World Heritage Site.

  5. September 25, 2013 at 12:15 PM

    So…this is what happens when Earth gets new DLC.

  6. spookyparadigm
    September 26, 2013 at 1:10 PM

    So, could this involve a major release of greenhouse gases?

  7. GdB
    September 26, 2013 at 1:49 PM
  8. September 29, 2013 at 8:48 PM

    I’d like to know what happened to the other two islands that appeared in the last 15 years. Do they still exist?

  9. spookyparadigm
    September 30, 2013 at 2:49 PM

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