In the dim light of dusk the landscape ahead was changing into an out of this world barren land. The last sun beams were hanging on the sandy hills, turning them red, as if they were on fire. Vegetation was getting smaller, almost unwelcoming. By the time we reached the gates, I could have sworn we had somehow landed on another planet.
We arrived just before closing time and were the last customers, meaning we had the chance to explore the Muddy Volcanoes alone in silence, mystifying the experience even more.We walked around, stepping on the dry mud, going from one volcano to the other. There are cones of all shapes and sizes coming out of the cracked soil, all on ground level. Each of them stays active for a while, then erupts somewhere else. So everything keeps on changing. Gas emanations push the mud out to the surface. When coming out, it sometimes forms a bubble that keeps getting bigger and bigger until it bursts. There are also large puddles of mud that are only slowly bubbling, like a witch’s potion boiling on the fire. Other volcanoes are very small and seem inactive at first sight, until a little mud ball gets thrown out of it, making a splashing sound as it comes out.
The muddy volcanoes are a phenomenon that is known throughout the world. It is the result of natural gases coming from a depth of over 3,000 m that are pushing clay mixed with water to the surface. The Muddy Volcanoes in Romania are found in the Buzău region, at Pâclele Mari, about 35 km from the city of Buzău. Apparently set in the middle of nowhere, the protected area has a surface of 22 hectares.
When raining, water finds a way through the muddy soil and gives birth to unique round shaped slopes and large cracks in the ground. This impressive lunar landscape lets your imagination roam free and you begin to picture yourself as part of some science-fiction movie that made an impression on you when you were a child.
In the light of dawn, the bizarre land of muddy volcanoes was the only thing laid out before our eyes, making us feel isolated from the rest of the world. There is no vegetation growing on this desolate plateau. Walking on the dry gray soil, following the huge cracks splitting the ground and watching bubbles bursting gave us an idea of how it must feel like to be walking on the moon.