Mud domes discovered on islands near Kabawa mud volcano after M7.5 earthquake, Indonesia

Following a powerful M7.5 earthquake that struck the Tanimbar Islands in Indonesia’s Maluku Province on January 10, 2023, researchers have discovered new dome-shaped mud eruption mounds on two small islands near the large Kabawa mud volcano. These mounds reach up to 3 m (9.8 feet) in height and cover areas of up to approximately 700 m2 (7 534 feet2).

The islands are located near the island of Yamdena, around 1 km (0.6 miles) south of the Kabawa mud volcano.

Mud domes discovered on islands near Kabawa mud volcano after M7.5 earthquake, Indonesia - island 1 and 2 2019 vs 2023
Image credit: BMKG, Google
mud volcano islands indonesia sentinel-2 bg february 28 2023
Image credit: Copernicus EU/Sentinel-2, The Watchers. Acquired on February 28, 2023
mud volcano islands indonesia sentinel-2 bg
Image credit: Copernicus EU/Sentinel-2, The Watchers. Acquired on February 28, 2023

The first island is characterized by a stretch of coarse blackish-gray sandstone on top of which scattered gravel-sized rocks with angular to angular shapes are found. The mud outcrop is situated on the west side of the island and is still soft and not yet compact, with a height of about 3 m (9.8 feet) and a dome shape.

Above the mud, there are boulders and cobbles that are the same as the material scattered around it. The dimensions of the mud from the results of drone shooting are 27.2 m (89 feet) long and 16.6 m (54.5 feet) wide. The mud is gray, very fine-grained, soft, and strongly cohesive, with no sulfur smell and no coarse material.

Mud domes discovered on islands near Kabawa mud volcano after M7.5 earthquake, Indonesia - island 1 mud dimensions
Image credit: BMKG, Google

On the second island, the characteristics of the mud are similar to the first island, with dimensions of 47.5 m (156 feet) in length and 17.8 m (58.4 feet) in width.

The island is composed of coarse sandstones overlaid by gravel-sized rock fragments with angular to spherical shapes, and the dominant cobblestone is flat. When compared to the first island, the fragments scattered on this island are smaller, and the rock type is almost the same.

Mud domes discovered on islands near Kabawa mud volcano after M7.5 earthquake, Indonesia - island 2 mud dimensions
Image credit: BMKG

According to data from the Regional Disaster Management Agency (BPBD) of Maluku Province, the earthquake caused moderate to severe damage to 523 residents’ houses, and damage to 131 public facilities, including public facilities, facilities, and infrastructure.

The USGS reported the quake as M7.6 at a depth of 105 km (65 miles).

Featured image credit: BMKG

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