For almost 80 years, this mud volcano in the forest near Brickfield Village in central Trinidad has been dormant, but it exploded to life sometime in late July.
No one saw it happen but the mud flow was violent enough to uproot and towering timber and palm trees, as it coughed up boulders of sandstone and limestones, some estimated to be 25 million years old.
And by the time the eruption was over, an area comparable in size to the Piparo and Devil’s Woodyard mud volcanoes had been smothered, leaving a giant footprint in the deep woods.
A CCN team was led to the site last Sunday by forestry workers who were told of an explosion in the forest and found the volcano.
But it was left up to the experts to explain what happened and why.
On Tuesday, Senior Geoscientist at Touchstone Exploration Xavier Moonan, and members of the Geology Society of Trinidad and Tobago Keston Brown and Stefon Harrypersad visted the site.
Moonan said that from the historical data and satellite imagery, it appears that the July eruption was the first large scale one since at least 1940.
And although the Piparo mud volcano is nearby, it is not related to the Brickfield mud volcano, since they occur on separate faults, said Moonan.
Regarding the size of the eruption, Moonan said the mud flow covers and area similar to the size at Devils Woodyard.
The team measured the maximum length of mud flow at 165 metres (a football field is 110 metres in length) and the maximum width at 76 metres.
An estimated 1,740 cubic metres or approximately 11,000 barrels of mud erupted. But there is warning for adventurers interested in seeing this natural phenomenon.
It’s not near a road, so be prepared to hike along a forest trail, on State lands, into snake territory.
Do not go alone. Do not go at night. Walk with water. Wear the right footwear. It’s going to be muddy.
Moonan said that the mud still very wet and unstable and people should not walk on the mudflow until it dries as they can become stuck.