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Mud volcano eruption caused explosion in Caspian Sea near oil fields

Emergency services are gauging the environmental fallout of the eruption.

An aerial view of the aftermath of a strong explosion in the Caspian Sea
An aerial view of the aftermath of a strong explosion in the Caspian Sea
Image: Azerbaijani Ministry of Emergency Situations via AP/PA Images

EMERGENCY SERVICES IN Azerbaijan are responding to a mud volcano eruption in the Caspian Sea that saw tall plumes of fire above the water.

The eruption occurred yesterday evening near the island of Dashlyg in the vicinity of offshore oil and gas fields.

Plumes of fire reached 100 metres above the sea, Azerbaijan’s national seismological centre said in a statement.

Mud volcanos are a dome-shaped landform that can erupt, but instead of lava, they contain mud, water and gases.

Emergency services are gauging the environmental fallout of the eruption.

The Caucasus nation’s emergency service said “helicopters are conducting flights above the Caspian Sea to study the eruption’s impact”.

“There is no threat to oil and gas infrastructure or the lives of people,” it added.

Video distributed by the emergency services today showed smouldering flames surrounded by brown mud deposits in Caspian waters.

That was hours after footage circulating social media yesterday evening showed a glowing fireball above the sea’s surface.

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Azerbaijan’s State Oil and Gas Company (SOCAR) said the eruption had not damaged infrastructure, which “continues operating normally”.

Azerbaijan is home to nearly a third of the world’s 1,700 mud volcanoes, both underground and underwater, according to a study by Russia’s Institute of Geology.

© AFP 2021

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