The Mud Volcanoes of Southern Taiwan

Yangnu Mud Pond, near Yanchiao in Kaohsiung County

It was a bit of a shock a couple of years ago when a couple of professors at Taiwan University suddenly announced that the volcanic peaks of Yangmingshan (which loom above my apartment window near Guandu) are not extinct, as was generally assumed, but that there is in fact still an active magma chamber below, and the volcanoes may well erupt again at some time in the future. Luckily, they hastened to add, Taipei citizens shouldn’t expect any trouble in the foreseeable future. However somewhere out in the boonies of Kaohsiung, Taidong and Hualien Counties, several volcanoes are very much active, erupting up to several times a year and inundating the surrounding countryside with their all-consuming, liquid contents. Glad to say though that these aren’t malevolent, lava-spewing giants, but another, completely different and much less dangerous kind of force of nature, the mud volcano. Continue reading