Residents in Surat, India were caught off guard after what appears to be a mud volcano suddenly erupted in the middle of their city this week. Social media is awash with videos and images of mud covering streets in the Kapodra neighborhood, which reached depths of approximately 10 cm (4 inches) in some areas. The ongoing metro construction work in the region is thought to have triggered the event.
Mark Tingay, a geomechanics and pore pressure specialist who studies mud volcanoes, expressed his concerns over the incident, “I’ve been seeing photos and videos of this reported ‘mud volcano’ in India over the last few days. This must be terrible and scary for people in the area, but honestly, I don’t know what’s going on here.”
Geologists have confirmed that this incident is not consistent with current geological models. Mud volcanoes require specific geological conditions to form, including a source of sediment and water under immense pressure, which is not present in Surat. The region’s geology comprises volcanic basalts covered by a thin layer of floodplain sediments, which is not sufficient to cause a mud volcano.
One possible clue to the cause is that some residents reported that mud was flowing out of their pipes. This could indicate a leak in underground piping due to the ongoing construction work in the urban area. However, without sufficient data, it is still challenging to confirm the cause.
Featured image credit: VNM TV (stillshot)
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