Mud volcanoes are one of the most spectacular natural attractions of Turkmenistan. All of them are located in the western part of the country on the coast of the Caspian Sea. There are a total of 30 mud volcanoes in Turkmenistan. Most of them are located on the Cheleken Peninsula.
Unlike classical volcanoes, mud volcanoes erupt masses of mud, pieces of rock, gases, water and oil. Frozen streams of mud flowing from the crater of a mud volcano can reach a length of 1.5 km. During an eruption, stones up to 2-3 meters in diameter can be thrown out of the volcano’s mouth.
The material erupted by mud volcanoes rises from a depth of 10-15 km. In fact, these volcanoes are natural super-deep wells. Mud masses and gases erupt from great depths under the influence of high pressure exerted by the underlying layers of the earth’s crust.
Mud volcanoes can have a variety of shapes. For example, the active volcano Ak-Patlauk is a hill with jagged edges, on top of which there are domed rises formed by a powerful eruption. In the center of the main dome there is a crater lake with a diameter of 200 meters.
In the Keymir region, a few kilometers north of the village of Chikishlyar, there is a mud volcano in the form of a wide funnel, up to 200 m in diameter with steep banks, up to 10 meters high. The crater has an almost perfectly round shape, while the volcano is flat and not a cone.
The Geok-Patlauk volcano in the Keymir-Chikishlyar region, on the contrary, has a height of 150 m. Its slopes are cut by erosion gutters formed by flowing streams of highly gassed and foamed mud. The volcano has a calm stage, when there is a mud lake in its crater, and a stormy stage, when it throws out columns of mud 1-2 m high, and sometimes even higher.
The oldest mud volcano in Turkmenistan is Boyadag. It is currently not active. However, studies have shown that it remained active for 5 million years. The slopes of Boyadag are painted in rich red-brown tones. This volcano is considered the most beautiful in the country.
The unique “nomadic” volcano Chikishlyar is very interesting. It is sometimes in the sea, sometimes on land. Now the Caspian washes its western slopes, bordering a perfectly round crater. The water of the crater lake has a yellowish-green color. This has not been observed in other crater lakes.
The volcanoes of the eastern coast of the Caspian Sea are real landscape and geological natural monuments of global scale that deserve further study and protection.