In 2013, a powerful earthquake struck Pakistan, which killed hundreds of people and destroyed thousands of homes. However, unlike other earthquakes, this disaster left behind not only destruction – after it, on the coastline of the country, a rather large island was formed, completely consisting of mud. It could be quietly observed from satellites for more than five years, but by 2019 it began to disappear. Because of what he was formed, and why he was so quickly wiped off the face of the Earth?
The reason for the formation of the island in the Arabian Sea was a strong earthquake of magnitude 7.7. After it, four more aftershocks occurred on the territory of the country, due to which more than 20,000 houses were destroyed. The death toll during a series of earthquakes reached 825 people, and more than 700 local residents were injured.
How are islands formed from mud?
As you know, earthquakes occur due to the movement of so-called tectonic plates – underground blocks of huge size, which are constantly in motion and are inherently the surface of the Earth. The aftershocks in Pakistan were caused by the collision of Arabian and Eurasian tectonic plates, during which clay deposits formed between them, which under pressure began to break out to the surface.
The largest mud volcano
Formations from which dirt, gases and a mixture of water and oil explode under high pressure are called mud volcanoes. Usually their height does not exceed two meters, but there was so much dirt coming out from under the Arabian Sea that an entire island of 20 meters high with a width of up to 180 meters formed on the water surface. Mud volcanoes and islands formed by them can be found all over the world, but this one was so huge that it was visible even from space.
Island Zalzal Koch from the satellite
However, the life of this island, which later received the name Zalzal Koch, was short. Since it consisted of semi-fluid mud, its surface began to blur with water after a couple of months. On the satellite photo below you can see how even in 2016 the outlines of the island were at least a few views, and by 2019 it was almost lost from sight.
With all this, this island can not be considered completely disappeared. Mud volcanoes are sometimes activated two or three times, and in a few years the island may reappear in satellite imagery.