Pakistan's new mud volcano is spewing flammable gas

The latest addition to Pakistan's shoreline looks like a gigantic, steaming turd laid by a Kaiju. The mud volcano — which appeared suddenly last week after a 7.7 magnitude tremblor struck the region — has been belching toxic fumes that can be set alight.

The top image was taken by NASA's Advanced Land Imager (ALI) on NASA’s Earth Observing-1 (EO-1) satellite. The image below comes via the National Institute of Oceanography. It shows a close-up of the landform, estimated to stretch 75 to 90 meters (250 to 300 feet) across and standing 15 to 20 meters (60 to 70 feet) above the water line.

Pakistan's new mud volcano is spewing flammable gas

The new island is a mixture of mud, fine sand, and solid rock. But as the BBC is reporting, it's also belching some gas:

"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."

Pakistan's new mud volcano is spewing flammable gas

According to experts, the energy released by the seismic movements of fault-lines activates flammable gases in the seabed. Again from BBC:

"The seabed near the Makran coast has vast deposits of gas hydrates, or frozen gas having a large methane content," [Rashid Tabrez] explained.

"These deposits lay compressed under a sediment bed that is 300m-800m thick."

"When the plates along the fault-lines move, they create heat and the expanding gas blasts through the fissures in the earth's crust, propelling the entire sea floor to the surface."

The island is not expected to last, and may be gone within a year's time.

Here's the full resolution image from NASA:

Pakistan's new mud volcano is spewing flammable gas