In November 2010, a national newspaper of Pakistan disclosed the news of emergence of an island caused by the eruption of "Mud Volcano" inside the Arabian Sea at a distance of 2km from the Makran coast, near the point where the Hingol River drains into the sea, in Pakistan.
(A close view of the mud volcano near Hingol shows oozing of Methane gas
The news further reported the emergence of a similar island at the same place in 1999 & 2004 which later vanished after a few months. It was being said that it was the re- emergence of past "Malan Island" (Malan was the name given to newly the emerged island , after an off-shore Mud volcano, Malan )
This was the first time in my life when I was introduced to this new type of
volcano, “Mud Volcano”. The news attracted my attentions most just because I was in Karachi at that time and the mentioned "view" was within hours drive from Karachi so I decided to visit the view myself. But before that, I could get time to visit the place; I heard the news of collapse of the island due to strong currents and winds in a similar way as happened in the past. I was somewhat disappointed but my interest in getting information about "Mud Volcanoes" increased day-by-day. I got a comprehensive detail of these volcanoes through a group of my colleagues who travelled Balochistan to make a documentary film on the mud volcanoes of Pakistan
Locations of Mud Volcanoes in Pakistan:
If we search “Aghor” (along Makran Coastal Highway) through "Google Earth"we spot a belt of active mud volcanoes clearly visible towards north east of Aghor.
The Province of Balochistan is considered to be one of those areas which have the largest & highest active mud volcanoes of the world. According to geological survey of Pakistan more than 80 to 90 mud volcanoes are located in the Province of Balochistan.
Especially the coastal area of Balochistan is famous for such volcanoes.
These volcanoes are located in clusters spread over almost ten locations, mostly
• between the Gwader Port and Delta of Hingol River. Near Gwader, these mud volcanoes are very small and mostly sit in the south of Jabal-e-Mehdi toward Sur Bandar.
• Many more exist in the north-east of Ormara.
• And a major complex of volcanoes located in Lasbela District, scattered north of Miani Hor in the Hingol Valley and almost north of the Agor beach. In this region, the heights of mud volcanoes range between 243.8 to 472.4m.
The opening of the Makran Coastal Highway has brought people close to these volcanoes, and now only northward journey from the highways is to be undertaken either by automobiles or on foot
Hingol mud volcano-The Biggest mud volcano in the world
Hingol Mud Volcano is reported to be the biggest mud volcano in the world. It is still alive and often erupts hot lava in the form of mud. Two other dead mud volcanoes are also close by.
The most famous is Chandaragup
The most famous mud volcano is “Chandargup”, and it is located three and a half miles south of the Makran Coastal Highway in a short village of “Sanga”15 miles away from Makran coastal highway . The sea shore from Chandargup is around three and a half miles down south. In local language “Chandargup”, means “the volcanoes of moon.” Here three active craters are present and can be observed through the following picture.
Reasons for the formations of Mud Volcanoes:
Mud volcanoes are caused by geo-extracted liquids and gases. When the hot water mixes with the surface deposits, these form mound like shapes, with a conspicuous contrast from the surroundings. These volcanoes emit gases, a major portion of which is methane ( in great portion), nitrogen and carbon dioxide.
The age of these volcanoes cannot be told with any certainty but in the travelogue of an army major Sir Frederick John Goldsmith who visited this place in 1862, we learn that he passed by bubbling springs near Ras Koocheri and Ormara. These volcanoes are mostly of mild intensity and rarely cause earthquakes. But one thing is admitted that the muddy lava that comes out of these volcanoes has charismatic healing effects for lots of skin diseases.