Mud volcanoes and lunar landscapes

Being on the Pacific Ring makes Taiwan a bit of a hot spot for thermal pools, rocks and mud on the move. Where better to see some of this in action than the Wushanding Mud Volcanoes, just outside of Kaohsiung in south-west Taiwan.

It is, to be fair, a bit of an adventure just getting there. The mud volcanoes lie in the shadow of the Kaohsiung Normal University – presumably providing students with a lesson in geology every day. We hired a taxi to get there, passing an entertaining troop of monkeys on the roadside on the way there.

Don’t expect a mass of people on arrival. We were clearly guests of honour when we arrived and much feted by both the security guards (It is a national reserve, so they want your passport details on arrival) and the fantastic guide.

These strange structures are no giants. Two mini-volcanoes spew a steady little stream of mud, but they are no more than about ten feet high. There’s another couple of small bubbling and gurgling mud pools too – though one was pretty new when we arrived in 2017.

They are, however, fascinating. The mud is not hot and there is no sulphurous smell (though there is clearly methane), yet the mud just keeps on pouring forth like lava. And these mud volcanoes are pretty rare – there’s a few more to be found in Taiwan, but otherwise most are to be found in Azerbaijan.

 

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Lunar landscapes

 

Having spent time at the mud volcanoes we then drove on to Moon World, to see the strange lunar landscape in the area. It’s not pretty, but it’s certainly different, with a  variety of trails to enable you take in the views of this strange barren landscape of harshly eroded peaks and crevices.

 

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