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Mere days after a fire broke out in the Gulf of Mexico, a massive explosion has occurred in the Caspian Sea.
The explosion took place on the evening of Sunday, July 4 in an area where Azerbaijan is known to have a number of oil and gas fields, sending an enormous column of flames shooting up into the skies.
State-owned oil company SOCAR has since said that none of the platforms were damaged during the explosion, the cause of which is yet to be officially determined.
According to Azerbaijani news agency APA, SOCAR spokesperson Ibrahim Ahmadov stated the explosion took place around 10km (6 miles) from the Umid gas field, located approximately 75km (45 miles) off the Baku coast.
As per the spokesperson, the explosion is believed to have been the result of a mud volcano, which occur when water heated beneath the earth’s surface combines with mineral deposits, forming a slurry. Subterranean pressure then forces this slurry upwards through geological faults.
Mark Tingay, a mud volcano expert and adjunct associate professor at the University of Adelaide, Australia, has since taken to Twitter to explain a bit more about the science behind mud volcanoes.
Tingay started off his thread by noting ‘there’s still uncertainty’ when it comes to this mud volcano, with ‘many reports’ suggesting it could well be the result of ‘a fire from a rig or platform, possibly an old one.’
Both of these explanations are understood to be possible, with Azerbaijan having ‘lots of both mud volcanoes and offshore oil wells and platforms.’
The offshore region has lots of known mud volcano and mud volcano islands. They are islands because they’ve been able to erupt enough mud to poke up above the sea. Many others are submerged, or erupt to form ‘peek-a-boo’ short lasting islands, such as Kumany Bank.
The most widely posted footage is from a oil platform, and I don’t know its location. But here we can see the fireball clearly visible on the horizon from the promenade in Baku – and I know where that is because I’ve enjoyed some lovely walks along it.
That footage from Baku is right out into the Caspian, and so we can draw a rough area of where that footage is looking, out to ~50km distance.
I think it is too close to be Qum Daniz. So, if it is a known mud volcano, the most likely candidate looks to be Makarov Bank.
Now, this is where it is interesting, because I have a file on Makarov Bank mud volcano, because it has erupted just like this in 1958!
[…] So, preliminary analysis is YES, it could be a mud volcano eruption. The limited info I have suggests maybe Makarov Bank, which erupted just like this before in Nov 1958. But, cause is still unsure.
As reported by The Guardian, Azerbaijan is often referred to as the ‘Land of Fire’ due to its abundance of subterranean oil and natural gas reserves.
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