1. ITV Report

NASA satellite images confirm creation of new island in Pakistan

NASA has confirmed that a recent earthquake in Pakistan created a new island about a kilometre off its Gwadar coastline in the Arabian Sea.

The powerful earthquake struck Pakistan's south-west Baluchistan province on 24 September, killing more than 500 people and leaving thousands homeless.

Two days later, NASA's earth-observing satellite flew over the area and confirmed that a new island had indeed appeared.

The image below shows the part of the coastline before the earthquake. Lighter patches in the water suggest either a shallow seabed or suspended sediment, NASA said.

Aerial image of the coast before the earthquake, captured by NASA’s Landsat 8 satellite on April 17 Credit: NASA Earth Observatory/Jesse Allen and Robert Simmon, using EO-1 ALI data from the NASA EO-1 team.

The image below was taken after the earthquake and clearly shows the new island jutting out above the waves.

Aerial image of the new island, captured by NASA’s Earth Observing-1 (EO-1) satellite Credit: NASA

Experts say the island was most likely created by a "mud volcano" - a jet of mud, sand and water - which caused the seabed to rise.

A close-up photo of the surface of the new island Credit: National Institute of Oceanography, Ministry of Science and Technology, Government of Pakistan

Another image, released by Pakistan's National Institute of Oceanography, shows the surface of the island in greater detail.

It is estimated to stretch 75 to 90 metres (250 to 300 feet) across and stands 15 to 20 metres (60 to 70 feet) above the water.

The surface appears to be a mixture of mud, fine sand and solid rock.

The new island can be seen in the top-left of this aerial image of Pakistan's Gwadar coastline in the Arabian Sea. Credit: NASA

US geologist Bill Barnhart said the life of the island is likely to be short as the "underground pocket of gas will cool, compress, or escape over time, allowing the crust to collapse and settle back down".

The island's loose landscape of loose sand, mud and clay will also be eroded gradually by waves, storms and the tide, he said.