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People Have Already Managed to Litter on Pakistan’s New Earthquake-Formed Island

A massive earthquake last week created a new island off the coast of Pakistan

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Last week a deadly earthquake gave birth to an island, a massive pile of rock and mud jutting up from the ocean off the coast of Gwadar, Pakistan. The initial reports of the island’s sudden arrival were, understandably, tinged with surprise and confusion. No one really knew for certain how the island got there. But in the past week, satellites have had a chance to get a good look at Pakistan’s newest bit of land.

Measurements made by the French satellite Pleiades, says Becky Oskin for LiveScience, showed that the new island was more than 575 feet long and nearly 525 feet wide. “Geologists think the new island, named Zalzala Koh, is made of erupted mud, spewed from the seafloor when either trapped gases escaped or subsurface water was violently expelled,” says Oskin.

The new island, says EarthSky, is poking up from coastal water that is 50 to 65 feet deep, and the island itself is roughly 60 feet tall. That’s a lot of mud.

Because it’s just a big pile of mud, the thinking is that the island will swiftly erode away. Luckily, people haven’t missed the chance to leave their mark. According to the BBC, “there was already rubbish on the island from people who have begun visiting it.”

The Pakistan coast before the September 24 earthquake. Photo: NASA / Earth Observatory via EarthSky

The new island formed by the earthquake. Photo: NASA / Earth Observatory via EarthSky

More from Smithsonian.com:

A Massive Earthquake in Pakistan Just Forced an Island to Climb Out of the Sea

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About Colin Schultz
Colin Schultz

Colin Schultz is a freelance science writer and editor based in Toronto, Canada. He blogs for Smart News and contributes to the American Geophysical Union. He has a B.Sc. in physical science and philosophy, and a M.A. in journalism.

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