Nasa releases images of new island formed in Pakistan earthquake

Images show what the area looked like before and after the earthquake created the island

Neela Debnath
Tuesday 01 October 2013 01:38 BST

Nasa has released satellite images of the new island formed off the coast of Pakistan following a powerful earthquake last week.

The new outcropping off the shore of the Paddi Zirr near Gwadar has been captured by Nasa’s Earth Observing-1 satellite. The island rose from the depths of the sea floor after the earthquake hit, it is estimated to be about 75 to 90 metres in diameter and 15 to 20 metres above the waterline.

Click here to see more images

It is believed that a shallow pocket of pressurised gas was released during the earthquake, the gas rose to the surface, taking mud and rock with it.

According to a group of people visiting the island, the sound of hissing gas was heard escaping from fissures even though there was no smell. The group found dead fish and other sea creatures on the surface of the island that had been carried up with the mud and clay.

Experts believe that this will only be a temporary island and that once the gas has escaped the mud will collapse and re-settle. Storms and waves are likely to play a part in shortening the lifespan of the island by washing away the soft clay and sand. It is thought that islands such as these only last a few months before sinking below the water again.

The devastating earthquake struck the Baluchistan province on Tuesday afternoon at a depth of 20km, with a magnitude of 7.7. Over 300 people have been killed and more than 700 have been injured. The Southwestern region of Pakistan has been hit by aftershocks which have left at least 15 people dead.

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