Amazing Images of Pakistan's Earthquake Island

Pakistan's earthquake island

Pakistan earthquake island

(Image credit: NASA Earth Observatory)

A new island, now called Zalzala Koh, emerged offshore of the town of Gwadar in Pakistan after a powerful Sept. 24 earthquake. Likely a form of mud volcano, the island rose from the seafloor hours after the magnitude-7.7 earthquake struck about 380 kilometers (230 miles) inland.

Birth of an island

Pakistan earthquake island

(Image credit: NASA Earth Observatory)

On Sept. 26, 2013, the Advanced Land Imager on NASA's Earth Observing-1 satellite captured an image of Pakistan's new island, which sits roughly one kilometer (0.6 miles) offshore of the town of Gwadar.

Before the earthquake

Gwadar, Pakistan

(Image credit: NASA Earth Observatory)

No island is visible in this image of Gwadar from April 17, 2013, snapped by the Landsat 8 satellite.

Zalzala Koh close-up

Pakistan island aerial photo

(Image credit: Pakistan's National Institute of Oceanography/NASA Earth Observatory)

An aerial photo from Pakistan's National Institute of Oceanography suggests the gray-colored mound is about 60 to 70 feet (15 to 20 meters) tall. The surface is covered in sea creatures such as dead fish and is a mixture of mud, sand and rock. It is solid enough for people to walk on.

How big?

Pakistan island from space

(Image credit: Astrium/Pleiades)

The French Pleiades satellite mapped the muddy hill's dimensions, which measure 576.4 feet (175.7 meters) long by 524.9 feet (160 m) wide. Similar islands appeared offshore of Pakistan after earthquakes in 1945 and 2001.

Becky Oskin
Contributing Writer
Becky Oskin covers Earth science, climate change and space, as well as general science topics. Becky was a science reporter at Live Science and The Pasadena Star-News; she has freelanced for New Scientist and the American Institute of Physics. She earned a master's degree in geology from Caltech, a bachelor's degree from Washington State University, and a graduate certificate in science writing from the University of California, Santa Cruz.