Before and After Satellite Photos: Pakistan's Incredible Pop-Up IslandSee images of the area before and after the mass of land surfaced
Islands don't usually appear out of nowhere -- but that's just what happened Tuesday, Sept. 24, 2013. A massive 7.7-magnitude earthquake struck southwestern Pakistan that morning, causing mud, stone and gas to bubble up from the seabed off the coast of Gwadar. As awe-struck locals looked on, a mass of land about 60 feet high, 100 feet wide and 250 feet long formed in a matter of hours.
Scientists now think the mound is a mud volcano, created when the quake released flammable gases trapped within the earth. The island is the third of its kind to appear in the region in the last 15 years. "It may last a few months," GeoScience Australia duty seismologist Hugh Glanville told ABC. "It depends on the mud pressure. Some mud volcanoes have been known to stay for years."
NASA's Earth Observing-1 satellite captured an image of the freshly surfaced island on Sept. 26, 2013. Above is a comparison of the area before and after the island's creation.
Below is a close-up aerial view of the island from the National Institute of Oceanography.
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