By Laman Ismayilova
Along with the fascinating history and culture, Azerbaijan is home to some stunning and unique natural wonders. The Land of Fire has the greatest number of mud volcanoes worldwide.
At present, there are 365 mud volcanoes in Azerbaijan. Most volcanoes are active, and 43 of them are protected by the Azerbaijan Ministry of Ecology and Natural Resources. For security reasons, the admission of people there is prohibited.
Until the end of 2019, Azerbaijani scientists expect several volcanic eruptions, including Bozdag-Gobu volcanoes in Absheron district, Bahar in Alat village and Shikhzahirli volcano in Gobustan.
This was stated by Adil Aliyev, the head of the mud volcanism department at the Institute of Geology and Geophysics.
"Now the situation in the volcanic zones of Azerbaijan is stable. But until the end of the year, the eruption of three volcanoes is expected. This is not a forecast. We have repeatedly been in volcanic zones where eruption was expected. The surroundings of the Bahar and Shikhzahirli volcanoes are not inhabited, but hundreds of people live around Bozdag-Gobu," he said.
In this regard, Adil Aliyev advised local residents to be extremely careful. The expert also explains how to avoid the danger.
When volcanoes erupt, they make impressive noises. And long before that, people can feel the movements of earth crust. This is the sign of the coming eruption.
Previously, Gushchu mud volcano erupted in Shamakhi region this February. The eruption occurred 150 meters away from a village.
Tourists can get a unique panoramic view of the spectacular natural wonder in the Gobustan State Historical-Artistic Reserve.
The world’s largest mud volcanoes - Boyuk Khanizadagh and Turaghai - are both in Azerbaijan. Boyuk Khanizadagh erupted on October 10, 2001, shooting out flames for 300 meters in the air. It was the highest record for flames shot from a mud volcano.
NASA geologists studying Mars concluded that mud volcanoes of Azerbaijan are similar to uplands of the planet for their structure.
On September 5, 2004, the largest mud volcano in the territory of Azerbaijan was added into the Guinness World Records. Azerbaijan's rich fields of oil and gas condensate such as Lokbatan, Garadagh, Oil Rocks, and Mishovdag were also discovered near mud volcanoes.
The lava, mud, and liquid spewed by mud volcanoes are used as raw materials for chemical and construction industries, as well as pharmacology.
Enriched with specific components - mineral salts, organic substances, microelements, volcanic mud has medicinal properties that have a beneficial effect on the human body. Volcanic mud gives a great effect in the treatment of patients suffering from diseases of the peripheral and central nervous system, gastrointestinal tract, skin, etc.
Laman Ismayilova is AzerNews’ staff journalist, follow her on Twitter: @Lam_Ismayilova
Follow us on Twitter @AzerNewsAz