World

Pakistan Quake Killed Hundreds, Created Island Off Coast

NPR | Sept. 25, 2013 8:26 a.m.

Contributed By:

Mark Memmott

It rose from the sea: The small island that appeared off the coast of Pakistan on Tuesday after an earthquake shook the region.

It rose from the sea: The small island that appeared off the coast of Pakistan on Tuesday after an earthquake shook the region.

Government of Pakistan, EPA/Landov

As more becomes known about the strong, 7.7-magnitude earthquake that rocked southern Pakistan on Tuesday, we’re hearing that:

— The death toll has risen to at least 327, local officials tell Reuters. That’s higher than earlier estimates. But as Pakistan’s Dawn newspaper wrote when it reported there had been at least 264 deaths, the toll had been “expected to rise as rescue teams reach more villages in the remote area.” So, the total may go up even further.

— “A small island created in the Arabian Sea by the huge earthquake that hit southwest Pakistan has fascinated locals but experts say it is unlikely to last long,” according to Dawn.

NBC News says that “seismologists suspect the island is a temporary formation resulting from a ‘mud volcano,’ a jet of mud, sand and water that gushed to the surface as the temblor churned and pressurized that slurry under the ocean floor.”

The network adds that “older residents of the coastal town said the land emergence was déjà vu — an earthquake in 1968 produced an island that stayed for one year and then vanished, Ali Mohammad, 60, and Azeem Baloch, 57, told NBC News.”

According to Dawn, “the island is about 60 to 70 feet (18 to 21 metres) high, up to 300 feet wide and up to 120 feet long. … It sits about 200 metres [656 feet] away from the coast.”

The earthquake hit hardest in Pakistan’s Baluchistan province. The island appeared near the coastal town of Gwadar.

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