The slow cooking of the Earth in big pots!

Noticed for the first time in 1867 by the Frenchman H. Cognand during oil exploration in Romania, the Mud Volcanoes from Berca, Buzău county, from the central part of the Subcarpathians of Curvature, are not only spectacular geomanifestations, but also a famous touristic objective to be seen.

Along an anticlinal axis, a 18 km long North-South depression has been formed at 320-340 m altitude. The depression is cut off by a fault along which methane emanations come to the surface from over 3,000 m deep. They cross and liquefy clayey deposits in combination with groundwater, and bring the mud to the surface. Through conical mounds up to 8 m tall, like an uphill funnel, the (cold) boiling mud of the volcanoes also brings small amounts of hydrocarbons and salt from the depths, as well as fragments of sedimentary rocks and Miocene fossil organisms.

The Pâclele Mici area (45°20′22.2″N 26°42′29.4″E), spread over 13 hectares, was included in the list of monuments of the nature in 1924 and is now the most visited, thanks to the easiest access. The Pâclele Mari (45°21′30.5″N 26°42′44.3″E) covers over 18 hectares and was declared a geological reservation in 1955. Together with those from Beciu, they are currently forming the Natural Botanical and Geological Reservation of Mud Volcanoes from Buzău.

Mud Volcanoes from Pâclele Mici. Photos: Valentina Cetean.
Mud Volcanoes from Pâclele Mari. Photos: Valentina Cetean.
Mud Volcanoes from Beciu. Photos: Valentina Cetean.

Into a constantly changing landscape under the Earth, sun and rain action, in addition to muddy areas that boil in craters or slowly flow on slopes through small canyons, a saline efflorescence develops and a number of special halophilous plants occur, characteristic of a different climatic zone.

A magnificent view and overwhelming beauty landscape – the Mud Volcanoes from Buzău, Romania, kept the breath of the Earth and are waiting for us.

Valentina Cetean, Radu Farnoaga
IGR, Romania

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