Active mud volcanoes on- and offshore eastern Makran, Pakistan
To study the activity, source and driving force of the venting of fluidized mud in the coastal Makran, we carried out reconnaissance surveys of two active onshore mud volcano fields (Chandragup and Jebel-u-Ghurab) and of a newly born (March 1999) offshore mud volcano (Malan Island). All studied on- and offshore mud volcanoes line up along one southwest/northeast-trending structural lineament, the axis of the Dhak Anticline. Isotopic data point to a bacterial origin of the gas (mainly methane). Mixed benthic foraminiferal faunas and calcareous nannofloras suggest that the source level of the extruded mud is at a sub-surface depth of 2–3 km. Observed mud discharge varied between 0 and 1.4 m3 h–1 and gas discharge rates between negligible amounts to 1 m3 s–1. Mud temperatures in the crater lake of Chandragup I are near-ambient temperatures. They rise slightly (≤1.5°C) during episodes of modest mud outflow. An area of 160,000 m3 of soft mud was vigorously extruded from the sea floor at a water depth of 10 m within days after 15 March 1999, forming Malan Island. The island was destroyed within a few months after its birth by deep-reaching wave action during the SW monsoon. This was possibly aided by local subsidence of the mud volcano structure due to the volume loss following rapid degassing and mud extrusion.
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