Indian Ocean finally engulfs ‘earthquake island’ which was created six years ago

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Ocean finally engulfs ‘earthquake island’ nearly SIX YEARS after it was created following the deadly tremor which struck Pakistan and claimed the lives of more than 800 people

  • The tiny island, also known as Zalzala Koh, was formed after 2013 earthquake 
  • A devastating 7.7-magnitude tremor hit Pakistan and killed at least 825 people
  • ‘Earthquake island’ was formed as a result off the coast of port city Gwadar
  • It has been slowly eroded and shrinking for six years and is now fully submerged 

A tiny island off the coast of Pakistan has been swallowed by the Indian Ocean and has disappeared beneath the waves. 

It was created six years ago when a devastating 7.7-magnitude earthquake struck Pakistan’s quake-prone province of Baluchistan and claimed the lives of 825 people.

The outcrop, also known as Zalzala Koh, was formed from the eruptions of an underwater ‘mud volcano’. 

Gradual erosion from the ocean’s tides has seen it re-submerged at last.

NASA images reveal its sudden appearance followed by its gradual demise. It can still be seen in the latest pictures from the agency despite being beneath the water.

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‘Earthquake Island’ was created six years ago when a devastating 7.7-magnitude earthquake struck Pakistan’s quake-prone province of Baluchistan and claimed the lives of 825 people (second left) and has now been submerged after constant erosion (right) 

HOW WAS THE ISLAND FORMED?

Scientists believe the 7.8 magnitude earthquake, which struck 145 miles southeast of Dalbandin in Baluchistan, triggered what is known as ‘mud volcano’.

They occur where there is a reservoir of loosely compacted sediments buried beneath harder, denser rock and a path is made to the surface.

The seismic waves caused a movement of gases locked in the earth under the sea, pushing mud and earth up to the surface along with gas.

These sudden islands are usually only spotted after strong earthquakes, at least 7- or 8-magnitude events.

It became an instant attraction for tourists and locals who visited the area despite toxic, flammable gas being emitted from its cracks.

The surface was covered in sea creatures such as dead fish and was a mixture of mud, sand and rock.

‘Earthquake Island’ was a trivial byproduct of the deadly natural disaster but served as a lasting reminder, despite its gradual erosion. 

It measured 65 feet (20 metres), 295 feet high (90 metres) wide and 135 feet (40 metres) long when first formed but was rapidly worn away and is now submerged.  

The first images were taken by NASA’s Earth Observing-1 and Landsat 8 satellites just days after the island emerged. 

‘The island is really just a big pile of mud from the seafloor that got pushed up,’ said Bill Barnhart in 2013, a geologist at the US Geological Survey who studies earthquakes in Pakistan and Iran.

Zalzala Koh became an instant attraction for tourists and locals who visited the area despite toxic, flammable gas being emitted from its cracks. The surface was covered in sea creatures such as dead fish and was a mixture of mud, sand and rock

Zalzala Koh became an instant attraction for tourists and locals who visited the area despite toxic, flammable gas being emitted from its cracks. The surface was covered in sea creatures such as dead fish and was a mixture of mud, sand and rock 

'Earthquake Island' was a trivial byproduct of the deadly natural disaster but served as a lasting reminder, despite its gradual erosion
The first images were taken by NASA's Earth Observing-1 and Landsat 8 satellites just days after the island emerged

The Indian Ocean has finally reclaimed the island following a slow six year process of wearing down the muddy outcrop off the coast of Pakistani port city Gwadar

When the tremor struck in late September 2013 the violent shaking of the Earth's tectonic plates produced vast ejections of mud and gas which formed the outcrop

When the tremor struck in late September 2013 the violent shaking of the Earth’s tectonic plates produced vast ejections of mud and gas which formed the outcrop

WHAT ARE MUD VOLCANOES?  

 Richard Luckett a seismologist at the British Geological Survey said: ‘The exact mechanism for this triggering is poorly understood but the fact that mud volcanoes often occur without a triggering earthquake suggests that little extra impetus is required.’

They are common in this part of the world due to high tectonic activity as a host of plates meet, increasing the likelihood of jolts and friction – which can lead to natural disasters. 

Zalzala Koh was formed from a host of debris and sediment caused from the submersion of the Arabian plate below the Eurasian plate after the Pakistan earthquake of 2013.  

‘This area of the world seems to see so many of these features because the geology is correct for their formation.

‘You need a shallow, buried layer of pressurised gas—methane, carbon dioxide, or something else—and fluids.

‘When that layer becomes disturbed by seismic waves (like an earthquake), the gases and fluids become buoyant and rush to the surface, bringing the rock and mud with them.’

When the tremor struck in late September 2013 the violent shaking of the Earth’s tectonic plates produced vast ejections of mud and gas which formed the outcrop. 

They are common in this part of the world due to high tectonic activity as a host of plates meet, increasing the likelihood of jolts and friction – which can lead to natural disasters. 

Zalzala Koh was formed from a host of debris and sediment caused from the submersion of the Arabian plate below the Eurasian plate.   





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