Mud Volcanoes

The terms mud volcano or mud dome are used to refer to formations created by geo-excreted liquids and gases, although there are several different processes which may cause such activity. Hot water mixes with mud and surface deposits. Mud volcanoes are associated with subduction zones and about 700 have been identified. Temperatures are much cooler in these processes than found at igneous volcanoes. The largest mud volcano structures are 10 kilometres (6.2 mi) in diameter and reach 700 metres (2,300 ft) in height.

About 86% of the gas released from these structures is methane, with much less carbon dioxide and nitrogen emitted. Ejected materials are often a slurry of fine solids suspended in liquids which may include water, which is frequently acidic or salty, and hydrocarbon fluids.

Possible mud volcanoes have been identified on Mars.

A mud volcano may be the result of a piercement structure created by a pressurized mud diapir which breaches the Earth's surface or ocean bottom. Their temperatures may be as low as the freezing point of the ejected materials, particularly when venting is associated with the creation of hydrocarbon clathrate hydrate deposits. Mud volcanoes are often associated with petroleum deposits and tectonic subduction zones and orogenic belts; hydrocarbon gases are often erupted. They are also often associated with lava volcanoes; in the case of such close proximity, mud volcanoes emit incombustible gases including helium, whereas lone mud volcanoes are more likely to emit methane.

Approximately 1,100 mud volcanoes have been identified on land and in shallow water. It has been estimated that well over 10,000 may exist on continental slopes and abyssal plains.

Yellowstone's "Mud Volcano"

The name of Yellowstone National Park's "Mud Volcano" feature and the surrounding area is misleading; it consists of hot springs, mud pots and fumaroles, rather than a true mud volcano. Depending upon the precise definition of the term mud volcano, the Yellowstone formation could be considered a hydrothermal mud volcano cluster. The feature is much less active than in its first recorded description, although the area is quite dynamic. Yellowstone is an active geothermal area with a magma chamber near the surface, and active gases are chiefly steam, carbon dioxide, and hydrogen sulfide.

The mud volcano in Yellowstone was previously a mound, until suddenly, it tore itself apart into the formation seen today.

Locations   Wikipedia

Mud Volcano   Wikipedia

In the News ...

Amazing Images of Pakistan's Earthquake Island   Live Science - October 1, 2013
A new island, now called Zalzala Koh, emerged offshore of the town of Gwadar in Pakistan after a powerful Sept. 24 earthquake. Likely a form of mud volcano, the island rose from the seafloor hours after the magnitude-7.7 earthquake struck about 380 kilometers (230 miles) inland.

How Did the Pakistan Earthquake Create a Mud Island?   National Geographic - September 26, 2013
On Tuesday, a 7.7-magnitude earthquake struck a remote part of western Pakistan, killing more than 260 people and displacing hundreds of thousands. It also triggered formation of a new island off the coast, which has quickly become a global curiosity. But scientists say the island won't last long. "It's a transient feature," said Bill Barnhart, a research geophysicist with the U.S. Geological Survey. "It will probably be gone within a couple of months. It's just a big pile of mud that was on the seafloor that got pushed up."

Pakistan earthquake creates new island, 'mud volcano' to blame   NBC - September 25, 2013
Mud houses in the mountains crumbled as a 7.7-magnitude earthquake shook western Pakistan early on Tuesday. Meanwhile, on the coast, residents of Gwadar saw a solitary island rise from the sea. Seismologists suspect the island is a temporary formation resulting from a "mud volcano," a jet of mud, sand and water that gushed to the surface as the temblor churned and pressurized that slurry under the ocean floor.

Deadly Mud Volcano to Erupt for 26 More Years   National Geographic - March 5, 2011
Mud from Indonesia's Lusi volcano engulfs the village of Sidoarjo, East Java. The world's biggest and fastest growing mud volcano, Lusi sprang to life in May 2006, and it and may continue to spew hot mud for another 26 years, according to a new study. Lusi could expel the equivalent of 56,000 Olympic-size swimming pools of mud before it finally simmers down, say scientists from the U.K.'s Durham University.

Link Between Exploration Well and Lusi Mud Volcano, Strongest Evidence to Date Shows   Science Daily - February 14, 2010
New data provides the strongest evidence to date that the world's biggest mud volcano, which killed 13 people in 2006 and displaced thirty thousand people in East Java, Indonesia, was not caused by an earthquake

"Medusa" Worms Found in Mud Volcano    National Geographic - December 10, 2008
These new, undersea worms don't have eyes to turn you into stone. But their resemblance to snake-haired Medusa (above) wasn't lost on discoverer Ana Hilario, who plans to name at least one after the mythological Greek monster. Hilario, of Portugal's University of Aveiro, and colleagues recently found 20 species of the tiny worms, called frenulates, in mud volcanoes in the Gulf of C‡diz, an arm of the Atlantic Ocean southwest of Spain.

Mud eruption 'caused by drilling' BBC - November 1, 2008
The eruption of the Lusi mud volcano in Indonesia was caused by drilling for oil and gas, a meeting of 74 leading geologists has concluded. Lusi erupted in May 2006 and continues to spew out boiling mud, displacing around 30,000 people in East Java. Drilling firm Lapindo Brantas denies a nearby well was the trigger, blaming an earthquake 280km (174 miles) away.