Sunday 20 October 2013

Mysterious eruption in Manipur.

Press sources in India are reporting a mysterious 'volcanic' eruption that took place on Sunday 13 October 2013, close to the village of Tusom in the Ukhrul District of Manipur State in northeast India. The eruption apparently comprised a loud explosion, followed by boulders rolling down a hill, followed by a 'lava-like' substance which scorched plants and trees. The event led to the blocking of a road connecting Tusom to Somra in Myanmar. Indian officials have declined to comment on whether this is a true volcanic eruption until an investigation has taken place.

The approximate location of the 13 October 2013 Manipur eruption. Google Maps.

There are currently no active volcanoes in the India/Myanmar border region, or indeed anywhere in mainland South or Southeast Asia, however the region is located on the boundary between the Indian and Eurasian Plates, two tectonic plates currently in a state of collision, so volcanic activity here is, at least in theory, possible.

However it is also possible that the source of the eruption is a mud volcano, the result not of hot magma rising up from deep within the Earth, but of liquids or gasses being released suddenly from rocks into soft sediments, resulting in dramatic upwelling of mud and gas. A number of such mud volcanoes are known in northern Myanmar, associated with gasses which are released from oil fields there during (fairly frequent) earthquakes. Since the gasses released by these events are highly flammable, explosions and burning of vegetation are a possible side effect of such eruptions.

A fiery eruption from a mud volcano on the Baku Peninsula in Azerbaijan in October 2001. While this superficially resembles a true volcanic eruption, it is caused entirely by the venting of flammable gas from the oil fields beneath the area. Azerbaijan 24.

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