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Gwadar’s quake island disappears

Updated December 31, 2016

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Men walk on an island that appeared 2 kilometres off the coastline of Gwadar on September 25, 2013, after an earthquake the day before. —AFP/File
Men walk on an island that appeared 2 kilometres off the coastline of Gwadar on September 25, 2013, after an earthquake the day before. —AFP/File

GWADAR: A small island said to have been created in the Arabian Sea by a huge earthquake that hit parts of Balochistan in 2013 has disappeared after remaining visible for three years.

Off the coastline near the port of Gwadar, locals were astonished to see a new piece of land surface from the waves after a strong earthquake struck southern parts of Balochistan, including Awaran, Turban and parts of the Makran coast, on Sept 24, 2013.

The island — 60 to 70 feet high, up to 300 feet wide and up to 120 feet long — was named “Zalzala island’’ by the locals. A team of experts and geologists visited the island and found methane gas rising.

“The island disappeared due to high tide in the sea,” Abdul Rahim Baloch, a marine biologist, told Dawn, adding that the island vanished from the surface of the sea but would remain underwater.

The area contains methane gas that forces land upwards during intense earthquakes in the Arabian Sea, he added.

“The island could reappear if a strong earthquake jolts the region again,” said Mr Baloch.

Published in Dawn December 31st, 2016