Mud Volcanoes of Trinidad - John Seach

johnMud Volcano offshore Trinidad
Residents of Chatham, a small village on the southern coast of Trinidad, awoke May 11 2001 to see a new island about a mile and a half offshore, in the Columbus Channel. A mud volcano on the floor of the North Atlantic Ocean formed the 16-foot wide piece of land, scientists at Trinidad's Seismic Research Unit said. Although these types of underwater formations are usually harmless, experts are warning people to avoid the tiny island, because it has the potential to emit toxic gasses or explode.

This is the fourth time in 90 years that a mud volcano has spawned an island in that vicinity. The first was 1911, when an island emerged amid an explosion and flames, rising about 12 feet above sea level. The event caused fear and panic among local villagers, and some reportedly fled the region.

In 1928, an island emerged again, also accompanied by gas explosions, and disappeared within a few weeks. Seismic Research Unit records show that the largest version of the reccurring island appeared in 1964, when a 10.5-acre land mass formed over several days, ultimately rising 25 feet above sea level. After it was fully formed, a rumbling sound could be heard, and the mud island began to emit a dry, odorless gas. Scientists tested the gas and found that it was a combination of methane, carbon dioxide and ethane. The island slowly eroded and was eventually washed away by the sea about eight months later — not to reappear for another 37 years.

In 1997, a mud volcano erupted in the central Trinidad farming village of Piparo, covering homes with mud that flew as high as 150 feet in the air. The sound of rumbling and the shaking of the earth alerted residents before the eruption, and they all managed to escape from their houses before the mud spilled out onto the village, crushing roofs and forming a thick blanket of dirt over all structures. No one was killed.

Piparo mud volcano
Piparo mud volcano erupted in December 2011 for the first time in 14 years. The first recorded eruption occurred 22nd of february 1997, at 5:47am.