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Mud Volcanoes Erupt in Santa Flora, Southern Trinidad (Trinidad & Tobago)

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Submitted by: Karl Ramjohn

Link to article …> Mud volcanoes erupt in Santa Flora | Trinidad and Tobago’s Newsday : : 

By Cecily Asson, October 26, 2008 

An unexpected early morning volcanic eruption in an oilfield area in Santa Flora sent about 100 villagers including several children scampering out of their homes to safety. Many of them have since fled their homes and are now seeking shelter at relatives’ homes until a disaster relief shelter at Los Bajos is fully prepared. Up to Press time, mud continued spewing several feet into the air from two large craters lying in close proximity to a pumping jack in the Los Bajos Field located at Francis Trace. The erupting mud was accompanied by the strong scent of methane gas. Long time residents of the area told Newsday this was the first time that the area ever experienced a volcanic eruption and that there were never any signs of activity to cause concern. Shocked villagers said they were awakened by a loud rumble yesterday morning and later discovered that a flat piece of grassy land on which they had walked and played the day before had been transformed into two mud volcanoes. There were reports of similar activity at smaller type craters in the neighbouring Wadell Village and up to late yesterday officials were said to be monitoring the situation.


Mud Volcano Erupts in Santa Flora | The Trinidad Guardian -Online Edition Ver 2.0 

Mud volcanoes in Trinidad – The Geological Society of Trinidad and Tobago 


Further Notes [Ramjohn 2003, Ramjohn 2004] 

The occurrence of several mud volcanoes is considered to be a significant geological feature of South Trinidad. Mud volcanoes develop from natural gas emissions along fault-fracture trends and are characterized by conical vents, flows of mud and periodic eruptions. The mud flows form due to the presence of trapped hydrocarbons under supranormal pressures in underlying rocks. Mud volcanoes associated with the Southern Anticline of Trinidad are present at Islote, Anglais Point, Palo Seco, Chagonaray, Coora, the Los Iros Coastal Mud Mound, and the Chatham Mud Island. The Erin Group of mud volcanoes has at least 12 eruptive centres located close to the coastal area from Palo Seco to Los Iros. The periodicity of activity related to these mud flows is highly variable. For example in the marine area immediately south of this recent event (October 2008), a temporary island of mud occassionally forms in the sea at the Chatham Mud Island (off Erin Point in the Columbus Channel). This is related to the activity of mud volcanoes in the nearshore area and has occurred four times over the past 100 years – in 1911, 1928, 1964 and 2001. An event which occurred at Point Radix off the South East coast of Trinidad in July 2007 is also believed to have been related to mud volcano activity (along offshore extension of the Manzanilla Fault). Note, however, that these mud volcanoes are not associated with “normal” volcanic activity, which occurs throughout the island arc of the Eastern Caribbean. 

Notes Source: 

Karl Ramjohn 2003. “Mud Volcanoes of South Trinidad”. In Environmental Sensitivity Atlas Volume II: Southeast and South Coasts of Trinidad. On behalf of BHP Billiton (Trinidad-2C) Ltd as part of oil spill contingency plan for Greater Angostura Field Development, Offshore Block 2(c); Study Manager / Primary Author. March – June 2003; September 2003 

Karl Ramjohn 2004. “Mud Volcanoes”. In Environmental Impact Assessment for Proposed Exploration Drilling, Production and Maintenance Operations: South Quarry Farmout Block, Santa Flora. On behalf of Los Bajos Oil Ltd to support Certificate of Environmental Clearance (CEC) Application. Principal Consultant (EIA Process). May – August 2003; April 2004.


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