In the aftermath of the terrible earthquake in the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, a new island has emerged off the coast of Gwadar, leaving the people of Costa Rica to ponder about two things: 1 – The geotectonic birth of our country in the Jurassic period, and 2 – How long before President Daniel Ortega claims the new island as part of Nicaragua (insert rimshot sound effect here.)
All jokes aside, the collective hearts of the people of Costa Rica go out to the victims in Pakistan. Recent reports from the Associated Press indicate that Pakistan’s violent earthquake has caused an enormous loss of life for the most unfortunate. The following is from the Denver Post:
Survivors built shelters with sticks and bed sheets Wednesday, a day after their mud houses were flattened in an earthquake that killed 285 people in southwestern Pakistan and pushed a new island up out of the Arabian Sea.
While waiting for help to reach remote villages, hungry people dug through the rubble to find food. And the country’s poorest province struggled with a dearth of medical supplies, hospitals and other aid.
The 7.7-magnitude quake flattened wide swathes of Awaran district, where it was centered, leaving much of the population homeless.
Costa Rica maintains bilateral diplomatic relations with Pakistan. The Pakistani Honorary Consul’s office is located in Barrio Tournon in San Jose, and Ambassador Muhammad Masood is stationed in Mexico City. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Costa Rica has not yet made an announcement on the matter, but the Costa Rica Star urges those who wish to support disaster relief efforts to do so through the Western Union Foundation and Save the Children:
The Western Union Foundation today announced support for disaster relief efforts that will help the families and communities affected by the devastating earthquake in Pakistan.
[…] consumers worldwide-can give online by using the “Donate Now” button at WesternUnionFoundation.org, and selecting the “Pakistan Earthquake Relief” option.
At this point, donating through Western Union might be easier than doing so through the Pakistan Red Crescent Society due to international bank wire transfer fees -although these may be waived in the near future.
The new island in the Arabian Sea is emitting flammable gases, but that has not stopped security forces and geologists in Pakistan from visiting this new tectonic formation. Illyas Khan of the BBC News desk in Islamabad filed a fascinating story complete with many pictures of the young island:
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.
“It’s an oval shaped island which is about 250ft to 300ft (76-91m) in length, and about 60 to 70ft above the water,”
“There were dead fish on the surface. And on one side we could hear the hissing sound of the escaping gas,”
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 Geological Origin of Costa Rica
Pakistan and Costa Rica are both countries where people must deal with the ever-present risk of seismic and volcanic activity. In fact, it was about 200 million years ago that an underwater volcanic and orogenic process began.
When the major African, American and European tectonic plates through a process of convection, the Atlantic Ocean was formed. Deep under the surface of this ancient ocean, volcanic activity pushed up mountain ridges that emerged as the outer arc of an island that would result in the topography of the two major peninsulas of Costa Rica: Nicoya and Osa. Readers in Playa Herradura take note: You are in a very ancient region of Costa Rica, and the hills therein are vestiges of formerly imposing mountains.
Costa Rica was once a series of islands that were buried under a process of heavy volcanic activity, sedimentation and erosion. The Talamanca Mountain Range did not begin to emerge until about 1.8 million years ago, in the Miocene period. It only took Costa Rica about 8 to 10 million years to become the beautiful country she is today, and it is important to note that she still has some growing up to do, hence the constant seismic and volcanic activity that wakes you up at night and prompts adventuresome tourists to visit us.
With continuous geotectonic activity in Costa Rica, the Cocos Mountain Range (which is currently underwater), could one day be added to our Central, Guanacaste and Talamanca ranges. This is something that the Costa Rica Star explained last year:
Underwater Mountain Ridge Advances Towards Our Pacific Shores
An underwater colossus the size of our Miravalles volcano is moving towards our Central Pacific coast and is causing earthquakes as it gets closer to the shores of Costa Rica.
The underwater mountain ridge is known as the Quepos Plateau, and it is located on the Cocos tectonic plate. It is currently located 75 kilometers southwest of the port city of Quepos, and it moves at a rate of about 9 centimeters a year.
The Cocos Mountain Range is nothing to worry about for the time being; but, like the Pakistan earthquake has shown, Nature is not ready to take a break yet.
Article by Costa Rica Star