Pakistan earthquake creates island off coast, ’emits flammable gas’
2013-09-26 0:00

By Ilyas Khan | BBC News

Pakistan quake island off Gwadar ’emits flammable gas’

Barely half an hour after they were jolted by a major earthquake on Tuesday, people of the Pakistani coastal town of Gwadar had another shock when they saw a new island emerge in the sea, just over a kilometre from the shore.

A local journalist, Bahram Baloch, received the news via a text message from a friend.

"It said a hill has appeared outside my house," Mr Baloch said.

"I stepped out, and was flabbergasted. I could see this grey, dome-shaped body in the distance, like a giant whale swimming near the surface. Hundreds of people had gathered to watch it in disbelief."

Mr Baloch and some friends landed on the island on Wednesday morning to check it out and to take pictures.

"It’s an oval shaped island which is about 250ft to 300ft (76-91m) in length, and about 60 to 70ft above the water," he said

It has a rough surface, much of which is muddy and some parts are mostly made up of fine- to coarse-grained sand. One part of it is solid rock, and that is where Mr Baloch and his friends landed.

"There were dead fish on the surface. And on one side we could hear the hissing sound of the escaping gas," Mr Baloch said.

Although they couldn’t smell gas, they did put a match to the fissures from where it was oozing, and set it on fire.

"We put the fire out in the end, but it was quite a hassle. Not even the water could kill it, unless one poured buckets over it."

The story now doing the rounds in Gwadar is that a similar hill had jutted out of the sea 60 or 70 years ago, and that the elders had then named it the Zalzala Koh, or the quake hill.

They say Tuesday’s earthquake has brought it back.


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