They don’t tower thousands of feet into the clouds, or inspire the same levels of awe and wonder as their more famous lava-spewing cousins, but mud volcanoes are pretty amazing nonetheless. True to the “mud” in their name, these mounds don’t spew lava, but rather a richly rejuvenating mud formed when water, warmed deep within the Earth’s crust, mixes with mineral deposits that are then forced to the surface through pressures along geological faults. The best place in the Caribbean to see these geological wonders: Trinidad.
A good 15 mud volcanoes call Trinidad home, many of them occupying the southern region of the country, where you’ll also find much of the island’s oil reserves and the source of the tar that’s paved a good percentage of the world’s roads. Unlike the Totumo Mud Volcano in Colombia, which we profiled here, you can’t splash around in Trinidad’s mud volcanoes. You can, however, dip your hands in and rub some of the therapeutic mud on your skin.
Not everything about mud volcanoes is soothing and nice, though. True to the “volcano” in their name, these mounds can erupt, causing major damage. Back in February 1997, a mud volcano in the rural village of Piparo, Trinidad did just that, flooding houses, burying cars, covering roads, and displacing 31 families from their homes.
Such eruptions are rare in Trinidad, though, rendering the mud volcanoes safe for exploration when adventuring around this most uncommon country.
Learn more about Trinidad’s mud volcanoes here.
*Lead photo credit: Flickr user Jennie.