Mud volcano erupts in Azerbaijan’s Shamakhi district

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A mud volcano in the village of Gushchu, Azerbaijan's Shamakhi district started erupting at about 21:00 UTC on January 14, 2018 (01:00 local time, January 15).

According to APA's local bureau, the volcano ejected mud lava to a height of about 10 m (32.8 feet) and has so far spread to about 1.5 hectares (3.7 acres).

"We were awakened by the sound of the eruption," locals told APA. The eruption continues and a smell of gas is reported across the area, they said.

There are about 15 houses in the distance of 20 – 30 m (65 – 100 feet) from the volcano but there are no reports of damage.

The last time this volcano erupted was in 2005.

Mud volcanoes are one of the visible signs of the presence of oil and gas reserves hidden deep beneath land and sea in the Caspian region. They are essentially channels for releasing pressurized gas and mineral water and interesting because of their comparison to Mars. 

Azerbaijan and its Caspian coastline are home to nearly 400 mud volcanoes, more than half the total throughout the continents.

Featured image: Mud volcanoes in Gobustan, Azerbaijan. Credit: Bruno Girin. Note: Representative image.

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