A tiny island off the coast of Pakistan has been swallowed by the Indian Ocean and has disappeared beneath the waves.
It was created six years ago when a devastating 7.7-magnitude earthquake struck Pakistan’s quake-prone province of Baluchistan and claimed the lives of 825 people.
The outcrop, also known as Zalzala Koh, was formed from the eruptions of an underwater ‘mud volcano’.
Gradual erosion from the ocean’s tides has seen it re-submerged at last.
NASA images reveal its sudden appearance followed by its gradual demise. It can still be seen in the latest pictures from the agency despite being beneath the water.
It became an instant attraction for tourists and locals who visited the area despite toxic, flammable gas being emitted from its cracks.
The surface was covered in sea creatures such as dead fish and was a mixture of mud, sand and rock.
‘Earthquake Island’ was a trivial byproduct of the deadly natural disaster but served as a lasting reminder, despite its gradual erosion.
It measured 65 feet (20 metres), 295 feet high (90 metres) wide and 135 feet (40 metres) long when first formed but was rapidly worn away and is now submerged.
The first images were taken by NASA’s Earth Observing-1 and Landsat 8 satellites just days after the island emerged.
‘The island is really just a big pile of mud from the seafloor that got pushed up,’ said Bill Barnhart in 2013, a geologist at the US Geological Survey who studies earthquakes in Pakistan and Iran
‘This area of the world seems to see so many of these features because the geology is correct for their formation.
‘You need a shallow, buried layer of pressurised gas—methane, carbon dioxide, or something else—and fluids.
‘When that layer becomes disturbed by seismic waves (like an earthquake), the gases and fluids become buoyant and rush to the surface, bringing the rock and mud with them.’
When the tremor struck in late September 2013 the violent shaking of the Earth’s tectonic plates produced vast ejections of mud and gas which formed the outcrop.
They are common in this part of the world due to high tectonic activity as a host of plates meet, increasing the likelihood of jolts and friction – which can lead to natural disasters.
Zalzala Koh was formed from a host of debris and sediment caused from the submersion of the Arabian plate below the Eurasian plate.