"Other mud volcanoes have been triggered at this distance for similar size earthquakes," Michael Manga, a geophysicist and expert on mud volcanoes at the University of California, Berkeley, told LiveScience's OurAmazingPlanet.
Little known risk
The unexplained island may have focused unusual global attention on the earthquake, which hit in a region that frequently experiences devastating temblors. (Video: Island Appears After Pakistan Earthquake)
But despite the hazards faced by millions living near the Chaman Fault, a combination of geography and politics means the seismic zone remains little studied. The Taliban killed 10 climbers, including an American, in northern Pakistan in June.
"Its location is in an area that is very difficult to do any traditional field work," Khan told LiveScience's OurAmazingPlanet. "I tried twice to submit proposals to (the National Science Foundation) and I got excellent reviews, but the review panel said I was risking my life to work in that area."
But the National Academy of Sciences felt differently. With their support, Khan and his colleagues in Pakistan and at the University of Cincinnati are now studying the fault's current and past movement. This will help the researchers forecast future earthquake risk.