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mud pots| Imperial County | California | 15 Dec 2009

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Uploaded on Dec 16, 2009

All sounds in this video are natural as captured by my video camera's microphone while they were occurring. Nothing was added to the soundtrack of this video.

Mud pots are geothermal or volcanic features forming where a subsurface heat source interacts with groundwater. As groundwater heats, it is pressurized, and, as the heated water approaches the surface, gases are exsolved from the water. Where the surface is composed of a fine-grained sedimentary substrate or soil, the groundwater mixes with the soil and -- due to the pressure -- mud erupts on the surface. The cones in this geothermal field result from numerous eruptions of mud built up around a central vent.

To be descriptively accurate, this geothermal field is composed of mud pots, boiling springs, and fumaroles (gas vents). Mud pots and boiling springs springs occupy pits or depressions in the surface; mud cones or mud "volcanoes" (termed 'gryphons' by some) build up around erupting mud vents. The fumaroles at this geothermal site are located on the ground near to or on the flanks of a mud cone.

Accompanying each of these phenomena are a symphony of exhalations, pings, blomps, blips, blops and rattles. (After watching the video, let me know if I've left out any particular onomatopoeia.) The variety of sounds produced by these vents alone is worth the effort to visit them.

These mud pots are located at the intersection of Davis and Schrimpf roads in the farmlands south of the town Niland and northwest of the town Calipatria. Easiest access: turn south onto Davis Road from Highway 111 near Niland, and drive about five miles due south on the hard-packed dirt road.

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