Yagrumito Mud Volcano in Monagas, Venezuela (6 km from Maturín) (Credit: Wikimedia Commons)
Yellowstone's "Mud Volcano" (Credit: Jim Peaco via Wikimedia Commons)
The new island that shot up off the Arabian sea after the 7.8-magnitude earthquake that struck Pakistan on Tuesday is not permanent and will most likely erode over time.
Scientists based in Australia and Pakistan said the landmass is not an island but a "mud volcano," formations created by geo-excreted liquids and gases, particularly methane gas. The occurrence, which is now presently fascinating the world, is not unusual to the country.
"It's happened before in that area but yes it's certainly an unusual event, very rare," Gary Gibson, a seismologist with Australia's University of Melbourne, told AFP.
Professor Shamim Ahmed Shaikh, from Pakistan's very own Karachi University, attested this. "About a year back an island of almost similar size had surfaced at the similar distance from the coast in the Makran region," Mr Shaikh, chairman of the university's department of geology, told AFP.
Mud volcanoes start out as small bulges in the earth which develop into cones. It is created by a build-up of pressure underneath relatively plastic rock. Mud volcanoes are frequently seen or created in areas of increased tectonic activity. They can also appear over petroleum deposits as well as in areas where volcanic activity occurs.
Because it's a mud volcano, meaning the soil is very soft, scientists expect it to erode over time by waves of the ocean lapping at it.
"This would disperse in a week to a couple of months," Mr Shaikh said.
On Tuesday, Pakistan was struck by a 7.8-magnitude earthquake, which has, so far, claimed more than 300 lives. Pakistan officials expect the death toll to still rise. The mud volcano, estimated to be about 200 feet long and 30 feet high, was believed to have created by this major temblor.
Read: Pakistan 7.8-Magnitude Earthquake Gives Birth to New Island Off Arabian Sea, Kills 46 [PHOTOS/VIDEO]
"The island popped out of nowhere because there is just a huge amount of gas pressure in that area," Asif Inam, principal scientific officer of Pakistan's National Institute of Oceanography, was quoted by the Washington Post. "Whenever there is an opportunity, it escapes out and creates a gap."
But its presence won't last long. "It will definitely collapse back," he said. "It will be within a couple months," he added.
A similar island appeared in the area after a major earthquake in 1945. There were also others formed in 1999 and 2010 even without seismic activity, Mr Inam said.
There are other mud volcano islands around the world, too. Here are some of them:
A cold mud pot in Glenblair, Calif. (Credit: MendoMann via Wikimedia Commons under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license)
Satellite image of mud volcanoes in Pakistan (Credit: Robert Simmon via Wikimedia Commons)
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