Earthquake In Pakistan Creates New Island In Arabian Sea

Pakistan Island

A massive earthquake in Pakistan has resulted in the birth of a new island:

A major earthquake struck southwestern Pakistan earlier today killing over 100 people; injuring thousands more; collapsing building and houses; and, incredibly, causing a small island to form in the sea off Pakistan’s coastline.

The U.S. Geological Survey said the quake that hit Pakistan’s Baluchistan province early Tuesday morningwas a 7.8 magnitude. Officials recently said that at least 150 people died during the quake, with that number expected to rise as the Pakistani military continues the clean up. Many one-level houses in the impoverished area where the quake hit collapsed on the people inside.

In addition to the physical damage, the power and force of the quake was underscored by the small, visible island that rose off the coast of Gwadar in the Arabian Sea. Reuters reports ”a crowd of bewildered people [gathered] on the shore to witness the rare phenomenon.” Pakistan’s Geo News reports ”the island’s altitude is 20 to 40 feet and width around 100 feet,” and that the island is roughly 350 feet off shore, citing deputy inspector general Moazzam Jah. Arif Mahmood, the head of Pakistan’s meteorological department, says they’re planning to investigate further.

The new island is certainly interesting because most earthquakes rarely have such a drastic effect on the world surface. The last time an earthquake caused such a drastic change, according to i09’s Annalee Newitz, was when an 8.8-magnitude quake in Chile altered the country’s coastline.

While this is fascinating, it’s worth noting, as the linked article goes on to note, that there is a good possibility that the death toll from today’s quake, currently around 100, could rise substantially as the extent of the damage becomes clearer.

FILED UNDER: Natural Disasters, Science & Technology, , , ,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug Mataconis held a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020. He passed far too young in July 2021.


  1. michael reynolds says:

    And it already has its own Al Qaeda spin-off.

  2. rudderpedals says:

    Awesome (*) is almost too small a word for it. If this happened a thousand years ago it would have spawned new religions.

    * I know, other than that Mrs Lincoln, what’d you think of the play?

  3. Franklin says:

    Japan and China have immediately made claims to the island.

  4. anjin-san says:

    This new island should be a Christian land, but Obama will just hand it to the Muslims…

  5. Ron Beasley says:

    Of course there is a possibility that plate tectonics created the mountain which caused an earthquake. That’s the way it usually works.

  6. dazedandconfused says:

    They should be ashamed of themselves for putting that picture on an article about a 100-foot long 20 foot tall sand bar.

  7. bill says:

    @dazedandconfused: when yahoo reported it earlier that had no picture at all- which is nothing new.

  8. rodney dill says:

    Al Gore has already claimed it was caused by global warming.

  9. rudderpedals says:

    WTF The image is “for illustration purposes only”? Is there an actual image of it somewhere? This one looks like an island at least a mile across with more elevation of features than ought to be there for a little sandbar.

  10. Franklin says:

    @bill: If you’re getting your news from Yahoo news, you’re not getting the news.

  11. rudderpedals says:


    Googling the article (no link;google to bypass the paywall) brought up a really good image of the thing. A beached ship and two people walking on the island makes it easier to guesstimate the thing maybe 15 meters high and a couple of hundred meters wide.

  12. CET says:

    It’s all fun and games till someone discovers a cave on the new island with great Cthulhu inside . . .