Experts say the island that has appeared in the Arabian sea following the Pakistani earthquake is unlikely to last long.
Source
AAP
UPDATED 8:46 PM - 25 Sep 2013

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.

The 7.7-magnitude quake struck on Tuesday in Baluchistan's remote Awaran district, killing more than 200 people and affecting hundreds of thousands.

Off the coastline near the port of Gwadar, some 400km from the epicentre, locals were astonished to see a new piece of land surface from the waves.

"It is not a small thing, but a huge thing which has emerged from under the water," Gwadar resident Muhammad Rustam told AFP.

"It looked very, very strange to me and also a bit scary because suddenly a huge thing has emerged from the water."

Mohammad Danish, a marine biologist from Pakistan's National Institute of Oceanography, said a team of experts had visited the island and found methane gas rising.

"Our team found bubbles rising from the surface of the island which caught fire when a match was lit and we forbade our team to start any flame. It is methane gas," Danish said on GEO television news.

The island is about 60 to 70 feet (18 to 21 metres) high, up to 300 feet wide and up to 120 feet long, he said. It sits about 200 metres away from the coast.

Gary Gibson, a seismologist with Australia's University of Melbourne, said the new island was likely to be a "mud volcano", created by methane gas forcing material upwards during the violent shaking of the earthquake.

"It's happened before in that area but it's certainly an unusual event, very rare," Gibson told AFP, adding that it was "very curious" to see such activity some 400km from the quake's epicentre.

The so-called island is not a fixed structure but a body of mud that will be broken down by wave activity and dispersed over time, the scientist said.

Professor Shamim Ahmed Shaikh, chairman of the department of geology at Karachi University, said the island, which has not been named, would disperse within a couple of months.