UPDATE – Seventh "New" Mud Volcano Discovered In Los Iros, Southern Trinidad

Tuesday 28th January 2020 Update

Photo of the seventh mud volcano that has appeared along RE Road, Los Iros, Southern Trinidad. Image Credit: Xavier Moonan

According to geoscientist Xavier Moonan, a 7th mud volcano vent has become active in the vicinity of the previously discovered vents along the RE Road, Los Iros, Southern Trinidad. This new vent is blasting out mud and gas up to two feet in the air, at approximately three to four times per minute.

Of the previous six vents discovered, two remained active, while activity has subsided at the remaining four.

In fact, according to Moonan, the less active cones have shown signs of being dried up.

This newest vent appeared a couple of days ago, well before the earthquakes in the Gulf of Paria began on Tuesday. Though mud volcano activity can be triggered by seismic events, these cones do not.

Approximately one week after a video emerged on social media of a mud volcano in Los Iros, geologists and geophysicists visited the site and discovered 6 new mud volcanoes along RE Trace.

These mud volcanoes cones have appeared over the last week in RE Trace, Los Iros, all occurring along the trace of the August 21st, 2018 earthquake fault rupture which completely offset the roads along RE Trace, according to geologist Xavier Moonan.

This area of Los Iros was severely impacted by the August 2018 Paria Peninsula Mt. 6.9 Earthquake at 5:21 PM August 21st, 2018 with a large landslide, a number of surface fault rupturing and mud volcanism appearing in the area.

These impacts disrupted and destroyed farmlands and roads in the area, causing millions in overall damage.

The affected area following the August 2018 Paria Peninsula Mt 6.9 Earthquake. Image: AAPG/UWI/ESRI

As mentioned, these volcanoes have appeared along the main fault rupture of the Los Iros Event, with the land north of the fault virtually undisturbed. This was a left-lateral strike-slip fault with a somewhat normal component based on images of the area.

Image of the main fault rupture of the Los Iros Event in the vicinity of the newly found Los Iros Mud Molcanoes. Image: AAPG/UWI

Mud volcanoes are no strangers to Trinidad and numerous sites with dormant or low activity mud volcanoes are scattered across South and South-Central Trinidad. Generally, the mud volcanoes across the island are quite passive with few bubbles of hot mud and gas emissions.

Mud volcanoes are usually located along or close to the axis of anticlines and/or strike-slip faults which act as fluid flow conduit.

According to Mr. Moonan, “Oil sheen and strong sent of hydrocarbons accompany the mudflow. Mud samples were collected for analysis.

Note that mud volcanoes in the Los Iros area have historically been not as explosive as more popular mud volcanoes such as Piparo and Devil’s Woodyard.

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