Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Visiting Our Local Volcano - Continued

Let me continue my story about visiting the Salton Buttes Volcano. My assistant and I arrived at the active venting of the volcano, an area commonly referred to as the mud pots. Last night, I told of how we were at first reluctant to go out onto the ground where the vents rest. We wondered if the ground is brittle or thin. In spots, it is indeed. There are constant new holes and vents forming, and considering the recent swarm micro and moderate quakes at this volcano, I wouldn't be surprised if there are some changes to the structure of the ground. Who knows.

Well, we walked out to the pointy towers of mud, silt and sand. The sun was low, and our shadows were cast long and orange over the fine clay and salt we were walking on. I was pretty excited to walk out to this jewel of rift zone evidence.

The first thing I noticed was the smell. It smelled like an oil refinery, like tar. I also noticed the sounds, even at the car, about fifty feet away. There was a loud bubbling and gurgling sound, and very high pitched whistle. The whistle came from one particular vent that seemed to not produce any hot mud.

That whistle was the whistle of something very powerful and under a great deal of pressure. It sounded like something wanted to force itself out through the thousands of feet of fine mud, silt and clay. I really felt that from that particular vent!

There are large puddles of water, with tiny bubbles of seeping volcanic gases too, and areas of boiling water. The mud towers looked like they shot mud out about ten feet, and the mud was still wet. One mud tower had a vent that was steaming and tossing mud, and rather noisily. I crept right up to the mouth of that vent, and got a good shot of it with my Sony FX1. I got some great footage!

The footage got even better as the Sun started setting, and the colors were ablaze in oranges and pinks.

It was a great day, and an adventure. Along with the volcanic vents, I caught stills of two very large eagles, an entire field of geese, and more! I want to go back to my neighboring volcano again. I love this volcano. I want to learn everything about it.

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