Sunday, September 29, 2013

Earthquake Creates New Island

A 7.7 magnitude earthquake located in the sea near Gwadar, Pakistan, killed more than 500
people and left another 100,000 homeless on September 24, 2013.  But it also created something

An island emerged a little more than half a mile (1 kilometer) offshore near Gwadar, Pakistan.

As an island, it does not look particularly attractive.  It is actually composed of fine sands, mud,
and a solid rock core.  So far it is only about 250 to 300 feet (75 to 90 meters) wide and about 60
to 70 feet (15 to 20 meters) above water.

Unfortunately, the tiny newcomer may not survive for very long.  These islands are reasonably
common in this part of the world.  Earthquakes often heave up new islands when shallow
pockets of methane or carbon dioxide are released.  The islands tend to sink back beneath the
sea as the underlying gases vent.  The effect is very much like letting the air out of a baloon.

The movement of coastal plates such as the interaction between the Arabian continental place
and the Eurasian crustal plates also cause sediments on the sea floor to rise above sea level.  In
either case these islands rarely survive for long. 

In the case of this new island, methane is being released, which means it will likely disappear
back into the sea. 

If you’re interested in reading more about this and similar islands, check here

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