NASA images reveal the sudden appearance of the 295-foot (90-metre) wide and 135-foot (40-metre) long mud island as well as its gradual demise. (NASA)
After six years of existence in the Indian Ocean, a small earthquake island off Pakistan’s coast has finally submerged under the sea. The island, which drew tourists as it spewed toxic and flammable gas from cracks in its surface, was formed after a massive Balochistan earthquake series that rocked southwest Pakistan on September 24, 2013 killing at least 825 people in the region, with the shock waves felt throughout the region all the way to Delhi, India and Muscat, Oman, according to Daily Mail.
NASA images reveal the sudden appearance of the 295-foot (90-metre) wide and 135-foot (40-metre) long mud island as well as its gradual demise, with the island’s landscape now fully beneath the water. The island which became known as an “earthquake one” appeared to be a conventional by-product of the deadly natural disaster and is a lasting reminder of the fact despite its submergence, the report added.
“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, continuing that for the formation to be complete “you need a shallow, buried layer of pressurised gas-methane, carbon dioxide, or something else- and fluids” that are typically ejected as a result of high tectonic activity.
The first images were taken by NASA's Earth Observing-1 and Landsat 8 satellites just days after the island emerged.
Zalzala Koh, which means Earthquake Mountain in Urdu, formed in 2013 after a 7.7-magnitude earthquake rocked western Pakistan. The island was made after the quake triggered a mud volcano – a buildup of sediment caused by tectonic plate activity.
Spaceballz - The blog After a 7.7 magnitude #earthquake shook western Pakistan in September 2013, an oval-shaped island sprang up in a shallow bay near the port city of Gwadar. #NASA https://t.co/wSFEwaOQOn pic.twitter.com/2F7z3G0FUJ— citr0 (@Citr0nella) July 8, 2019
These islands don’t last long as tidal influences and pummeling waves eventually wash the sediment away. In the years that followed its creation, Zalzala Koh was tracked by occasional Landsat images from space. By 2016, little was left of the island and satellite images confirmed that the tides of the Arabian Sea had washed the island away, according to IFL Science.