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Salton Sea Seep Field


The Davis-Schrimpf seep field is northwest of Calipatria, California, about 70 meters below sea level. Here carbon dioxide gas bubbles up from a zone about a kilometer deep where magma cooks the gas out of carbonate minerals. A paper in the January 2007 Geology studied the mud and fluids in this seep field. The tall, conical gryphons have various smells and colors, and they make gurgling sounds like a gathering of giant mud bullfrogs.

The seep field is a destination for geology students. (If you find it in Google Maps, the image shows a caravan of parked vehicles and people walking around.) Treat it with respect if you come here. First, it lies on hot mud and soft ground, and you can get your legs very dirty if you aren't careful. Second, the Davis-Schrimpf seep field is a precious scientific locality, a rare example on land of a spreading ridge covered with sediment. The seep field is fun to visit, but it's not a plaything.

See more examples of mud volcanoes.

Images 1-12 of 18
The settingThe Seep FieldTall and darkGryphonsYoung lava domeGryphons and Red HillRampart of mud volcanoesMud Flows on Gryphons
Curvilinear mudflowGryphon Mud EruptionFlat fluid flowFluid MudflowSpatter around a low domeMud ShieldA muddy closeupGryphon Mud
A red pool of algae-friendly brineMud Volcano Brine PoolDouble-headed mud volcanoTwin Peaks in a GryphonA high and a low mud poolMud PotsYoung oil in evidenceHydrocarbon Mud Pot
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