(N.Morgan) When I first saw this video, it made me think of Bayou Corne and the methane gas coming from the sink hole there. The earthquake was so strong, it split part of the land off and made an island. Did the quake jar a underground gas pocket? This could become a very dangerous situation. When a magnitude 7.8 earthquake struck Pakistan’s Baluchistan province on Tuesday, locals watched in amazement as a small island rose out of the sea 600 metres off the coast. Scientists have been studying data from the quake and fielding questions about what caused the island to appear.
They have since said that the island is actually a mud volcano, caused by pressure in sediment below the seabed. The ABC contacted two experts to explain what exactly caused the mud volcano to form. What is a mud volcano?
Aftermath of the quake:
Death toll stands at 328 and is expected to rise Some 373 people are reported wounded Awaran, Kech, Gwadar, Pangur, Chaghi and Khuzdar are the six districts affected A state of emergency has been declared in AwaranAround 90 per cent of housing in the area has been destroyed Medical teams and the military have been deployed. According to Professor Bill Collins, the director of the NSW Institute for Frontier Geoscience, the earthquake was the result of a collision between the Eurasian, Indian and Arabian plates. “It was a big earthquake by any standards,” he said. “It was an oblique-strike-slip, which indicates both vertical and horizontal movement between plates.” A mud volcano occurs when sediment is over-pressured by the shaking of an earthquake and eventually ruptures through its hard rock casing. “This particular area of ocean has a lot of sediment coming from the Himalayas, from the Indus River,” Professor Collins said. It looked very, very strange to me and also a bit scary because suddenly a huge thing has emerged from the water. Gwadar resident Muhammad Rustam. “Huge deposits of sand and mud are semi-consolidating into rock, but this has not completely happened.
“Like when you stand on the beach and place your foot in the sand near the shore line – water comes up around it. “Liquefaction happens when the sand and mud compact during the shaking of an earthquake and the mud bursts out.” Not the first example of a mud volcano appearing GeoScience Australia duty seismologist Hugh Glanville says mud volcanoes are quite rare, although the area has experienced one before. “It does happen for example in Japan, and actually not so far from this event, off the coast of Pakistan in 1945,” he said. “It might last a few months, like the previous island in the area did. “It depends on the mud pressure – some mud volcanoes have been known to stay for years.” Professor Collins says mud volcanoes will remain for as long as the high pressure from the sediment exists. “It depends on how large and robust the particular mud volcano is,” he said.
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