Volcanic eruption in Pakistan?

UPDATE 2/2/2010 7:30PM EST: Another report, this time placing the activity near Wham. This report is still vague about that is actually happening, saying people saw "flames of burning rocks on the top of the mountain over the last couple of days". The article also says the Headquarters of the Geological Survey of Pakistan has not returned any inquires on the event. My guess (and I emphasize guess) is this might be a misconstrued forest fire ... but this is about as strange a report of a volcanic eruption as you can get.

UPDATE 2/2/2010: A little bit more detail - the "volcano" in question is called Torghar Mountain. There is a blurry, unidentifiable picture that sort of looks like a scoria cone deposit or spatter cone deposit in another report that says the "eruption" started on Sunday night.

Anybody want to help me on this. I just read a report of a volcanic eruption in Pakistan. Here is the link to the report, which offers few details, including, well, the country that this is happening. I'm guessing it is Pakistan based on the source and the names.

The full report:

A mountain in Charri located near Ziarat has begun to spew molten lava, creating panic and fear in the locality.

Talking to journalists, DCO Ziarat Siddiqui Mandokhel said that that he had personally surveyed the site of occurrence, and said that emittance of chemical gases had begun last night, after which it spewed out a molten lava, the size of a meter.

He also said that that special (scientific) survey teams would be arriving soon to study the lava, which had thankfully not reached any credible population in its environs; which is already scarce.

He assured that despite all natural immunity, safety measures had nevertheless been taken, and a fewer homes located in the environs of site, have been or were in process of being relocated.

It is pertinent to note that during last year this region had been subjected to severe seismic jolts, resulting in calamitous loss of lives and property; while aftershocks are still continuing.

Seismologists have already marked the region being in quake zone (redzone), while locals are fast relocating, due of any further anticipatory calamity.

I'll try to find more information, but this is a big question mark to me right now.

More like this

2012 is starting early!!!!! :-o

Pakistan does not come to mind when you think about volcanoes but they can occur anywhere really.

By Chance Metz (not verified) on 02 Feb 2010 #permalink

I think I tracked down the location in GE, based on Ziarat, about 75 km from Quetta. I'm sure not seeing anything that looks like a volcano or volcanic field. But googling "Pakistan volcanoes" returns a lot of mud volcano results. A mud volcano makes more sense to me from what I know of the area- admittedly, not a whole lot. I'll put up a screen shot.

Here's an interesting brief article about Pakistan's mud volcanoes. The article includes some history about possible natural-gas explosions at these sites, apparently of quite spectacular scale if the reports from the 1940s are true. These could understandably be mistaken for true volcanic eruptions.


By Emory Kimbrough (not verified) on 02 Feb 2010 #permalink

The whole story is suspect at the moment. I've done a search of the research literature and what I have found for Tor Ghar is that it is an area of tectonically deformed, uplifted and exposed crust. Some beautiful folds can be seen in the satellite images. This is what would be expected in a continental collision belt.
Partial melting that would produce basaltic lava and scoria require some mantle upwelling and crustal extension. Not the case here, so far as I have been able to find out. The collisional tectonics in the region produce some significant crustal thickening that may produce enough heat that some internal melting could occur, but these would likely be thick, silica rich magmas that would not reach the surface.
Its not my field area though, so any readers who conduct research in the region should kindly add their input.

I know nothink!

I'm not an expert in the field by any means either but the mud-volcano\natural gas explanation sounds the most plausible to me. I would think if the magma was silica rich the problem would be the conduit getting plugged and, eventually, blowing explosively whenever the critical pressure was reached which, historically, I don't think has happened in that area. Then again, it's hard to tell how many 'extinct' volcanos haven't been discovered and documented as of yet.

By IndyBearFan88 (not verified) on 02 Feb 2010 #permalink

Samples collected from the site are shinning,black in color, odourless and very light in weight. Not sure its silicon or what. Suggestions please

By Amjad Jamil (not verified) on 02 Feb 2010 #permalink

Hello erik,
here is maybe a link to an explanatory article to the existence of Ziarat volcanic structure

/ page 8 & 12 (150 to 155)

No eruption. It was an IED. It was on the news this morning....

Hi IndyBearFan88,
Based on similar features in the larger region, you could be right about the possibility of mud volcanoes.
BTW I didn't mean to imply I was not a geologist, I am and I study magmatism and tectonics. What I meant is that I'm not directly familiar with this area.
IanW's report is also a strong possibilty.

Thanks for the info, IanW. If you can point us to a link for this info, I'd love to see it. Otherwise, I'll keep my eyes peeled for more information. I'm with a lot of you - this seems fishy, volcanically-speaking.

Tor Gar Mountain Range, Pakistan

The area is a Taliban stronghold. No doubt US DOD will have satellite photos. Sincerely doubt that the activity can be attributed to an IED, but mud volcanoes are known to be active in Pakistan.


Last page of this monograph describes inland mud volcano formations

If there are gas hydrates emissions from these fault-based mud volcanoes, it may have caught fire and appear to be a lava-like eruption.

Petroleum stratigraphy, mud volcanoes and gas emissions are mentioned in a technical description of the Pishin Basin.

Integration of Satellite Data and Field Observations in Pishin Basin, Balochistan

Excuse me for not knowing a lot of volcano jargon. What is an IED?

Got to get a book on volcanoes. :-)

Hi all,
I am not Volcanologists, but i think i can help you guys, I am living near the area where volcano spewing. Local people witnessed strange activities there, and finally today they saw some melted red stuff spewing out.

By Ghulam Mujtaba (not verified) on 03 Feb 2010 #permalink

Diane - IED isn't volcanic! "Improvised Explosive Device" - a bomb.

@Erik: Well, that shows you how much I know about things LOL. Thanks. Now I know.

It was an IED.

You mean it was a supervillain IED volcano? Gasp!!1!

When the locals report "melted red stuff" Im tempted to believe they've seen lava.

And if it turns out the Pentagon has turned bin Ladens cave into a volcano with HAARP quantum energy transfer, well, that wouldnt bother me either. |: )

@Fitz: If they knew what cave he was in, they would get him. Problem: he doesn't stay in one place more than one night.

HAARP? Don't they just study the aurora? But how about turning that "energy transfer" into Iran and cause an eruption there if they have volcanoes.

Just as a follow up to the above article, I was able to locate a "Tor Ghar" on GE at 30.237 N, 68.233 E. This is about 72 miles (not kilometers) due east of Quetta. Is that the edifice mentioned? I don't know but I did find a "Tor Ghar...".

It was a black hole made at the LHC escaping thru Pakistan

By Guillermo (not verified) on 03 Feb 2010 #permalink

Some geologically ignorant questions:

Why would it be a surprise if a volcano erupted in Pakistan? There are places there that look like a wrinkled tablecloth pushed by spread fingers. Isn't it result of the India->Asia collision? Doesn't this sort of collision cause volcanoes?

@Paulino: Not necessarily. The Himalias are not volcanic, but sedimentary. They were pushed up by India when it crashed into the Eurasian continent. Everest is still rising because of this movement. So not all plate boundaries cause volcanoes. A lot of them do. I wonder how many people know that Mt. Ararat is a volcano. I didn't know that until a coule of years ago. I bet Sinai is, too, though I am not sure of that. I haven't studied the geology of that area.

Anyway, I hope I have answered your question. Erik could do a much better job. He is a volcanologist and I'm not.

@Paulino: Not necessarily. The crust as a whole isn't as brittle as you might think, and tends to smoosh when continents collide. When you look at the Himalayas, realise that there's a corresponding "mountain range" extending into the mantle underneath them. This makes the crust extremely thick in that area.

When a continent collides with an oceanic plate, however, the oceanic plate is forced under the continent. The more volatile components melt and rise upward, making their way through faults in the continental crust and forming volcanoes on the surface above.


By Muhammad Akhla… (not verified) on 27 May 2010 #permalink

Update 2. Is the lava sample actually a fulgurite, formed by local melting of the rock? Photos of the eruption site (http://www.khadimsquetta.com/?p=640) show that the vent lies at the foot of a pylon, and also show a length of cable running into the ground down a second vent. The Geological Survey of Pakistan's own report (Information Release No. 891, Preliminary Report on Eruption of Molten Material in Tor Zawar Mountain, Sari, Ziarat, Balochistan on January 27, 2010, by Asif Nazeer Rana and Sardar Saeed Akhtar) also notes the proximity of the rock melt to an '11,000 volt electricity pole and its earth cable'. There have been other examples of high-tension power cables shorting and causing local melting (both in India, Turkey and elsewhere) - and I wonder if the same thing applies here.

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