x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

An art of nature

The island created by an earthquake off the coast of Gwadar will disappear as quickly as it surfaced. So make the most of it until it lasts

The earthquake that rocked south-west Pakistan on Tuesday dealt a devastating blow to the region. It created something as well.

Less than an hour after the 7.7-magnitude tremor jolted the area, a new island appeared off the coast of Gwadar in the Arabian Sea, almost like the latest temporary art installation by Christo and Jeanne-Claude.

Unsurprisingly, the new stretch of land – reported to be about 18 to 21 metres high, around 100m long and 40m wide – has generated a tremendous amount of excitement among nearby residents. A team of scientists were dispatched to the island shortly after it was first spotted, where they found methane gas rising from its surface.

It’s not clear, however, what caused the new land mass to appear. Speculation has it that it is either a mud volcano or a fault scarp.

Whatever it may be, experts expect it to disappear almost as quickly as it arrived, just like the mud volcanoes that were formed off Gwadar by a tremor in 1945. They vanished within a couple of months.

So catch it while you can. Join the throngs of locals who are queuing up to visit it. Just make sure that you don’t light a match or smoke a cigarette while you’re there.