ISLAMABAD, Nov. 23 (UPI) -- An island that emerged off the coast of Pakistan after an earthquake is shrinking, raising concerns among researchers and local residents, officials say.
The island appeared a half mile off the port city of Gwadar several hours after a magnitude 7.7 earthquake hit interior Pakistan Sept. 24, Voice of America reported. The epicenter of the quake was in Baluchistan, about 250 miles from the coast.
Initial reports from scientists said the island was about 60 feet above sea level, about 500 feet long and 600 feet wide.
Abdul Rahim, a biologist with World Wide Fund Pakistan, described the island's surface as "mostly muddy" and covered with large rocks and stones.
The island has begun to disappear and is now about 10 feet underwater "and the process is ongoing," he said.
The island is projected to vanish completely in several months, a forecast Rahim said had upset local residents for whom it had become a source of income.
Tourists pay "handsome amounts of money" to hire local boats to take them to the island, Rahim said.
A survey he conducted found a diverse biology on the island, with an unusually large of small fish swimming in its waters. Those fish had attracted other fish, which had given local fishermen the opportunity to catch bigger fish than they had been accustomed to.