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Wednesday, September 25, 2013

more than 300 feared dead due to Earthquake in Pakistan - Balochistan

Nature is beautiful when it is serene… it is very powerful and can cause devastation too….

Gwadar is a sea port  situated in the strategic Strait of Hormuz, located at the apex of the Arabian Sea and at the mouth of the Persian Gulf, approximately 460 km (290 mi) west of Karachi, 75 km (47 mi) east of Pakistan's border with Iran and 380 km (240 mi) km northeast of the nearest point in Oman across the Arabian Sea. During the last century Gawadar was under Omani rule ~  Pakistan purchased the Gwadar enclave from Oman for $3 million in Sept. 1958. Balochistan is an administrative  province of Pakistan, bordered by Afghanistan to the north and north-west, Iran to the south-west, the Arabian Sea to the south; Quetta is the capital and largest city of Balochistan. The main ethnic groups in the province are Baloch, Pashtuns and Brahuis, and there are relatively smaller communities.

Every now and then, the brute power of nature subdues mankind, often leaving a disaster in its trail…. there is news of a major earthquake in Pakistan  on 24th Sept. 2013 afternoon in which more than 200 people are feared killed [later reports suggest that the death toll is well over 300] due to the powerful earthquake in Pakistan's remote south-west province of Balochistan. BBC and other news agencies report that it measured 7.7 magnitude in Richter scale.  Reports suggest that the intensity was so high that quake created  a new island off the coast.

The United States Geological Survey said the 7.8 magnitude quake struck 145 miles southeast of Dalbandin in Pakistan's quake-prone province of Baluchistan, which borders Iran. The powerful quake pushed up a 40 to 60 feet high and around 200-foot-long land mass in the sea near the port city of Gwadar in Balochistan.  It is stated that  soon after the quake the land mass emerged around 600 m from the coast. Some reports state that  such an island had emerged in Gwadar in 1960 also.

Due to the impact of the quake, many houses were reportedly  flattened and thousands of people had to spent the night in the open. The latest quake was so powerful it was felt as far away as Karachi, Hyderabad, and India's capital, Delhi. Entire villages are reported to have been flattened in the impoverished and sparsely-populated district of Awaran. Reports quote Balochistan government spokesman  as putting  the death toll at 238, more than 200 of the fatalities in Awaran town and the surrounding villages. The army has sent more than 200 soldiers, medical teams and tents from the regional capital Quetta, but the mountainous terrain is said to be hampering the rescue operation.

Scientists believe the 7.8 magnitude earthquake, which struck 145 miles southeast of Dalbandin in Baluchistan, triggered what is known as 'mud volcano'. They occur where there is a reservoir of loosely compacted sediments buried beneath harder, denser rock and a path is made to the surface. The seismic waves caused a movement of gases locked in the earth under the sea, pushing mud and earth up to the surface along with gas. These sudden islands are usually only spotted after strong earthquakes, at least 7- or 8-magnitude events.

Such land masses have appeared before off Pakistan's Makran coast, a hydrographer is quoted as stating. After quakes in 1999 and 2010, new land masses rose up along a different part of the coast about 282 kilometers (175 miles) east of Gwadar, he said. However, each of those disappeared back into the sea within a year during the monsoon season, a period of heavy rain and wind that sweeps Pakistan every summer.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
25th Sept. 2013.

Photo courtesy :


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