Pakistan's new island, spewed from the Arabian Sea in a deadly earthquake, makes for a menacing close-up.
Barren, potentially explosive and strewn with the carcasses of marine life, the 30-metre wide heap of freshly-minted landfall would seem an ideal real estate option for Dr. Evil -- if not for the droves of tourists.
A YouTube video shows scores of local visitors clambering over the island, digging up stones to take home as souvenirs and, well, smoking on an island that could be seething with flammable gas.
On September 26, 2013, NASA’s Earth Observing-1 (EO-1) satellite captured this image of a new island off the coast of Pakistan. The “mud island” rose from the seafloor near Gwadar on September 24, shortly after a magnitude 7.7 earthquake rattled the Balochistan province of northwestern Pakistan.
When the deputy commissioner of Gwadar district, Tufail Baloch, visited the island shortly after its emergence, he told reporters the area had a strong stench of gas.
Speaking to BBC News, local journalist Bahram Baloch conducted a practical test after hearing "the hissing sound of the escaping gas."
A match, held to one of the fissures, sparked a blaze.
"We put the fire out in the end, but it was quite a hassle," he said. "Not even the water could kill it, unless one poured buckets over it."
There are also reports of dead fish floating in the surrounding waters.
Dr. Evil indeed.
This image shows the same area on April 17, 2013.
The island appeared in the wake of a magnitude-7.7 earthquake that shattered the country's southwestern province of Baluchistan on Sept. 24, crushing homes and killing more than 350 people and injuring some 500.
Rescue efforts have since been hampered by insurgents in the region who have been fighting for independence since the country was formed in 1947. Days after the earthquake struck, the Christian Science Monitor reports, a military aid helicopter came under missile fire.
Baluchistan, also spelled Balochistan, is the country's largest province -- but also home to the fewest people, at around 8 million.
“There is a lot of animosity against the military in this area and since the Pakistani Army is leading the rescue efforts, it will be very difficult for them to operate, without coming under further attacks,” Siddiq Baloch, editor of Balochistan Express, told the news organization.
Few, on the other hand, appear to be having any trouble visiting 'Earthquake Island' -- which, in addition to drawing throngs of local visitors, has sparked much chatter among geologists.
"It looked as if a section of shallow seafloor had simply been pushed up,” Game McGinsey, a volcanologist with the United States Geological Survey, told the New York Times.
McGinsey suggests the island was created in much the same way as a mud volcano -- with mud forced to the surface through vents by gas and water. This 'eruption' typically persists, somewhat like lava streaming from a volcano.
Certainly, it's a gassy island. The YouTube video reveals pools of brackish water bubbling away to the potentially dangerous tune of methane gas.
In this photo released by the Gwadar local government office on Wednesday, Sept 25, 2013, people walk on an island that reportedly emerged off the Gwadar coastline in the Arabian Sea.
The highest intensity shaking is marked in orange, near the epicenter of the Sept. 24 Pakistan earthquake.
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