Hotspot volcanoes

Azerbaijan launches scientific research project on mud volcanoes

By Laman Ismayilova

Mud volcanoes in Azerbaijan have been placed under scientific control, reports Azernews.

Speaking to reporters, Vice President of the National Academy of Sciences Ibrahim Guliyev said the work was being carried out under the project implemented with the funds of an international grant won by the academy.

The National Academy of Sciences has installed 22 stations – special sensors, including those around volcanoes.

“The grant is related to the expansion of the seismic network in the Caucasus and Central Asia. About 60 stations will be delivered, including ours in the Caspian Sea, as well as on mud volcanoes,” the academician said.

He noted that more than half of the 1,300 mud volcanoes in the world are located in Azerbaijan, and almost a third of them are in the Azerbaijani sector of the Caspian Sea.

“All of our major oil infrastructure is offshore. There are 3-4 volcanoes in all our fields (Azeri-Chirag-Gunashli, Shah Deniz). Therefore, volcano monitoring is a separate issue. ‘earthquake warning systems at sea turned out to be a failure, which cannot be said of mud volcanoes. Now we are installing special seismic sensors on the Caspian coast and around the volcanoes to watch them,” Guliyev said.

Azerbaijan is home to amazing and unique natural wonders. Tierra del Fuego has the largest number of mud volcanoes in the world.

Currently, there are 365 mud volcanoes in Azerbaijan. Most of the volcanoes are active and 43 of them are protected by the Azerbaijani Ministry of Ecology and Natural Resources. For security reasons, the admission of people is prohibited.

Until the end of 2019, Azerbaijani scientists expect several volcanic eruptions, including Bozdag-Gobu volcanoes in Absheron district, Bahar in Alat village and Shikhzahirli volcano in Gobustan.

Tourists can have a unique panoramic view of the spectacular natural wonder of the Gobustan State Historical and Art Reserve.

The largest mud volcanoes in the world – Boyuk Khanizadagh and Turaghai – are both found in Azerbaijan. Boyuk Khanizadagh erupted on October 10, 2001, sending flames 300 meters into the air. It was the highest record for flames shot from a mud volcano.

NASA geologists studying Mars have concluded that mud volcanoes in Azerbaijan are similar to the planet’s highlands in structure.

On September 5, 2004, the largest mud volcano in Azerbaijani territory was added to Guinness World Records. Azerbaijan’s rich oil and gas condensate deposits such as Lokbatan, Garadagh, Oil Rocks and Mishovdag have also been discovered near mud volcanoes.

The lava, mud and liquid spewed by mud volcanoes are used as raw materials for the chemical and construction industries, as well as for pharmacology.

Enriched with specific components – mineral salts, organic substances, microelements, volcanic mud has medicinal properties that have a beneficial effect on the human body. Volcanic mud greatly affects the treatment of patients with diseases of the peripheral and central nervous system, gastrointestinal tract, skin, etc.

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Laman Ismayilova is the journalist of AzerNews, follow her on Twitter: @Lamiva993