Mud Volcanoes Essay

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Mud Volcanoes Preface Until this year, I like many people, had no idea that ‘mud volcanoes’ even existed. It was an earthquake in Pakistan that turned out to be the catalyst for my interest. More specifically, my interest lay in the resultant mysterious island that seemed to appear out of nowhere as a result. With a little investigation I was able to uncover that scientists believe that the island was likely the work of a mud volcano. This paper includes a basic overview of what mud volcanoes are, where they’re located, and some impacts on the environment. This is in no way an exhaustive or complete study. It is only meant to spark some interest in this underappreciated natural phenomenon. What are Mud Volcanoes? Mud volcanoes, sometimes called ‘sedimentary’ or ‘gas-oil’ volcanoes, are an interesting natural phenomena that occur around the world generally along points of weakness in the Earth’s crust such as fault lines. They act as pressure valves to release gases, mineral water and sometimes traces of oil along with mud also known as breccia from as deep as 10-12 km below the earth’s surface. The size of mud volcanoes very dramatically from 1 to 2 metres to up to 700 metres high; and from centimetres to kilometers wide. Correlations have been found between earthquakes and mud volcano activity particularly if there is a major earthquake. This would explain why the island (thought to be due to a mud volcano) appeared off the coast of Pakistan this fall at about the same time as the large earthquake. Seismic waves of larger earthquakes are thought to trigger subsequent mud volcano eruptions up to a year after the event. The role the seismic waves play is not yet fully understood. Other tectonic activity, sedimentary loading due to rapid sedimentation, and continuous hydrocarbon accumulation are said to also control the occurrence of mud volcanoes. On a
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