Вулкани Криму

Вулкани КримуEven the miraculously generous Crimean nature managed to surprise us – Crimea is not Kamchatka or Iceland, but there are also volcanoes on our peninsula.

Volcanoes are interesting for science, because due to their eruptions you can get an idea of ​​the earth’s interior. Volcanoes attract tourists with their exoticism. Volcanoes form the relief of the earth’s surface – the Crimean mountains were volcanic millions of years ago: Karadag is an extinct volcano. Volcanic emissions have been used by humans because they contain healing mud, sulfur, boron, volcanic ash creates fertile soil, especially suitable for growing grapes and coffee, and volcanic tuff and pumice have long been known building materials. Volcanic eruptions cause climate change – for example, due to the eruption of Tambora volcano in 1815, the gassiness and dustiness of the atmosphere was so great that in Europe and North America in the summer of that year and the following, 1816, simply did not fall, snow fell even in June. which had a bad effect on agriculture.Volcanoes on the seabed pose a danger to shipping and even influence political decision-making.

Nietzsche’s Zarathustra named two incurable diseases of the earth’s crust: man and the Fire Dog. The second meant volcanoes. However, volcanoes are different. Volcanoes in the Crimea are only mud, but sometimes they also emit fire.

Although Crimean volcanoes erupt not magma but only gas and liquid clay, although they are small compared to real volcanoes, four hundred years ago one of them caused a real disaster and the other “destroyed” the Crimean nuclear power plant in the twentieth century.

Mud volcanoes were recognized as volcanoes less than a century ago. For them, there is a word similar to Salsa – salsa is not just a spicy sauce or a temperamental Latin American dance. Salse (differs only in the letter – it is also “salsa”, ie mud volcano, which is a depth in the ground, not deep enough to erupt hot magma from the surface, but deep enough to erupt gas, water, dirt and pieces of underground Cone-shaped mud volcanoes are called makaluba, and in the Ukrainian language mud volcanoes are also called supuha, but in the Crimea there is another, common to the first and second, unofficial, but entirely Ukrainian, name – vomit.

Often these are cone-shaped mountains, on the flat top of which, like a real volcano – a crater filled with a gray liquid mass of mud, from which gas bubbles emanate. Sometimes this gas ignites and then a column of flame rises.

Jules Verne wrote about the eruption of such a volcano in the novel “Stubborn Keraban”, in the section where his characters, traveling around the Black Sea, cross the Kerch Strait and find themselves on the Taman Peninsula: “Suddenly a bright light lit up to the left of the road. One of the cones had just ignited and was burning with a bright flame. The steppe lit up for a mile. The flame, appearing on one cone, spread to neighboring. They began to explode one after another, like batteries of fireworks… “The writer also mentioned the presence of the same” cones “on the Kerch Peninsula, but the road on which his characters went to Kerch, was a little away from the Bulganats field of mud volcanoes.

By nature, mud volcanoes differ in that during the eruption not a mass of molten rock is ejected from the bowels of the planet, liquid clay with water, rock fragments and gases, it is mainly methane, sometimes sulfur compounds. Not the last role in the second case is played by existence of deposits of oil and natural gas.

They erupt from the ground not only a mixture of clay and water, but also hydrogen sulfide and natural gas – so sometimes their particularly powerful eruptions are accompanied by flames and thunder, emissions of pieces of rock, reminiscent of a real eruption. For the most part, unlike true magma, mud “magma” has time to cool until it rises to the surface. Due to the saturation of liquid clay thrown on the surface with hydrogen sulfide, iodine and bromine, this sludge is considered healing. In fact, mud eruptions contain, of course, many healing substances, but with them a lot of mercury and arsenic. Therefore, the optimism of connoisseurs of therapeutic mud is somewhat exaggerated.

The nature of the processes that lead to the appearance of mud volcanoes has not yet been elucidated by science. Many researchers are inclined to believe that this is due to the presence of oil and natural gas deposits in one area or another, and it is known that the Crimean peninsula and the seas that wash its shores have large deposits of these minerals.

In ancient times, everything was the opposite: in place of the Akmonai Isthmus there was a strait, and in place of the Kerch Strait, on the contrary, there was an isthmus.

Volcanoes on the land of the peninsula are located only in the Eastern Crimea, which is not a coincidence: from a geological point of view, the Kerch Peninsula is not part of the Crimea. Millions of years ago, scientists argue, the strait between the Azov and Black Seas already existed, but much further west, on the site of the current Akmonai Isthmus, and the Kerch and Taman Peninsulas were one. Mud volcanoes are also common in Taman. But most of them are hidden on the seabed: only scientists discovered under the water column of the Kerch Strait mud volcanoes more than sixteen.

Not far from the village of Bondarenkove, located north of Kerch, there is the Bulganatsky group of mud volcanoes: Obruchev, Vernadsky, Abikha, Pavlov, Tishchenko, Andrusova hill, and the largest in diameter of the Crimean mud volcanoes – Central Lake. Its diameter is 25 meters. This volcano erupts 100 cubic meters of gas (mostly methane) and 5,000 liters of liquid silt per day. The Bulganats field of mud volcanoes covers an area of ​​4 square kilometers. Since 1969, Bulganatsky volcanoes are a natural monument of local significance.

Volcanoes are most active in winter. In the first half of the twentieth century, attempts were made to establish boron mining here. In 1914, a bromine plant was established here, which ceased operations during the “devastation” and briefly resumed operations during the NEP (1920s). After that, the Bulganatsky field interested Germany during World War II: the shortage of raw materials forced the Nazis to extract borax (sodium tetraborate, which was then used primarily in pharmacology) even in the Crimea, of course by slave labor of the local population. Nature took revenge on the occupiers: according to unconfirmed reports, a German tank drowned in the mud of a volcano in the Bulganatsky field. Breccia (a substance erupted by mud volcanoes, the main component of which is clay) is used to make expanded clay.

Obrucheva hill
Obrucheva hill

And the highest of the Bulgan volcanoes – Obrucheva hill – has a height of 74 meters above sea level. But there is an even higher volcano in the Crimea.

Academician Pallas, one of the first European explorers of the Crimea, described Joe-Tube as he heard it: “Of all the hills that erupt in dirt, on the Bosphorus or Kerch Peninsula and on the island of Taman, Joe-Tube is the largest and most prominent.”

Pallas further notes in his book on a trip to the Kerch and Taman Peninsulas that locals remember the eruption a century and a half before his trip: The silt that flowed from the crater and spread west to the settlement filled part of the ravine. This avalanche of dirt is still not covered with grass. ”

And again points to the unexplained feature of mud volcanoes: “In winter and wet seasons, eruptions become more frequent.” Academician Pallas also noted the presence of oil deposits in this area.

Zhau-Tepe volcano in the Crimea
Zhau-Tepe volcano in the Crimea

This is Zhau Tepe, which reaches a height of 120 meters above sea level. “Mountain-enemy” – this is how its name is translated from the language of the Crimean Tatars. And he had reason to be so called – in the seventeenth century, his eruption destroyed a nearby village. In 1964, this natural object was declared a natural monument of local significance and became a landscape natural monument of national importance since 1975.

The most powerful in terms of the amount of sludge thrown out, we can say, exceptional, was the eruption of 1909, when the mud flow reached a length of 330 meters and a width of twenty to thirty meters. A total of one hundred and twenty-eight thousand tons of silt was thrown out of the throat.

The volcano came to life on March 14, 1914. Flames of flame burst from the throat and a huge column of black smoke rose. A roaring roar could be heard tens of kilometers away. A huge stream of powdery silt began to move towards the village, which caused panic among the locals. But it was over in half an hour.

Zhau Tepe volcano in spring
Zhau Tepe volcano in spring

Zhau-Tepe woke up in 1925 and 1927, however, not as powerful as in the seventeenth century. The study of the volcano during the eruptions of the 1920s gave interesting scientific results. The composition of gases emitted by Zhau-Tepe is different from that of the volcanoes of the Bulganatsky field. They emitted mainly methane, while in Zhau-Tepe it is 83% hydrocarbons and carbon dioxide. One of the great eruptions was observed in 1937, when the tongue of the silt stretched for one hundred and thirty meters. The last notable eruption occurred in 1982.

In addition to the Bulganatsky field of mud volcanoes, on the Kerch Peninsula, there is the Tarkhanskoye field nearby, less and less known.


Jardzhava Volcano
Jardzhava Volcano

On the western outskirts of Kerch is the volcano Dzharjava (from the Crimean Tatar Rain from Earth or, as noted by the magazine “Treasure Peninsula” – Enemy Yar [i] ). During its last major eruption in 1930, fire and smoke billowed from the crater, and the erupted mass smelled of oil for a long time. In half a century of his sleep, the city had developed, and houses were being built near the volcano, until in 1982, Jardzhava reminded himself of a two-day powerful gas-steam eruption and a sound more powerful than the roar of a jet. Frightened residents of nearby houses were preparing to evacuate. But a stream of silt moved to the highway. However, that’s the end of it. The accident did not happen.

Another group of mud volcanoes on the Kerch Peninsula is difficult to see, and it was discovered not so long ago, because they are located at the bottom of Lake Tobechytske, south of Kerch. If you dive under the water – there are many more volcanoes, both those that “sleep” and those that remind of themselves.

In the Sea of ​​Azov, volcanic activity is noticeable in the southeastern part – near the Kerch Peninsula, east of Cape Tarkhan and Taman, namely the coast in the Temryut district of the Krasnodar Territory. Small, practically unexplored, gas emissions also occurred in other parts of the Azov water area, in particular, near the Arabat arrow. They become especially noticeable in winter when frosts bind the surface of the sea with ice – then each such emission of hot gases and warm liquid mass form ravines in the ice shell.

The greatest activity in our time in the Sea of ​​Azov is located on the opposite, Taman, shore of the Kerch Strait is found by the mud volcano Golubitsky. Its history is interesting because it is directly related to the Crimea. After a long silence, its powerful eruption occurred in 1988, when a fountain of silt and gases “fired” 50 meters up; later in the next, in 1989, in 2008, and the fourth eruption led to “geographical news” – the appearance of the island three hundred meters long and one hundred meters wide, above the water the island rose by two meters.

The crater of the Golubitsky volcano is ten meters in diameter, but its depth, according to volcanologists, is as much as 12 kilometers.

The eruption of the Golubitsky volcano in 1988 put an end to the history of the Crimean nuclear power plant. After the tragic Chernobyl disaster, public attitudes toward nuclear energy changed radically, from a cautious distrust of the “peaceful atom” to a complete rejection. Until then, the hidden facts began to be published in the press, discussed in the All-Union, Ukrainian and Crimean parliaments. Accordingly, the voice of environmentalists sounded louder. The authorities of the perestroika period began to listen to the expert opinion.

The already dubious project of the Crimean NPP, located near the seismic zone, technologically simple and cheap, but one that did not guarantee a quiet holiday for holidaymakers, was once again analyzed more thoroughly. Volcanologists, specialists in mud volcanoes, were also involved in this process. After exploring the area directly adjacent to Cape Kazantip, where two reactors and the nuclear town of Shcholkine have already been built, scientists found a dormant mud volcano at the bottom of the Sea of ​​Azov, just 1,500 meters from the future nuclear power plant, which could still wake up.

You can build anything, any object, no closer than two kilometers to the mud volcano. Nuclear power units – even more so. And it was in the midst of the discussion that the Glubochitsky volcano declared itself with a powerful eruption for the first time since 1924. His “fountain” hit 50 meters in height. This became an obvious and understandable argument against the construction of a nuclear power plant on the Kerch Peninsula without additional scientific and expert calculations. The project, which has already consumed billions of rubles, was closed away from sin.

Sixteen mud volcanoes were found by researchers at the bottom of the Kerch Strait alone. These studies were made possible by the UNESCO program at the beginning of this century. If the research program had continued, had it not been for the Kremlin’s political ambitions and other unscientific factors, it is possible that the number of discovered and described mud volcanoes in the Sea of ​​Azov and the Kerch Strait would have been higher.

In 1927, the Crimea shook. The earthquake occurred on September 11, and immediately from the shore were observed emissions of gases from the sea, as well as gas flashes and entire pillars of fire. Most of them were observed in the Sevastopol region. For example, according to a report from the Sevastopol lighthouse, the pillar of fire had a diameter of one and a half nautical miles and a height of five hundred meters.

In the east, the phenomena continued even for two months after the earthquake, for example, on October 14 near the shores of Alupka, people saw a gas column, and soon in Evpatoria, recorded clouds burning for an hour. In Alushta in early October of the same year, fountains of burning gas were spotted in the sea near Feodosia, Alupka and Sudak.

And in the Black Sea there are more than five dozen mud volcanoes. Not far from the Kerch Peninsula, south of Cape Takil, fishermen have repeatedly noticed the volcanic activity of the underwater volcano. To the south of Sudak, scientists have found a whole volcanic field of two dozen mud volcanoes. The Dvorichensky volcano attracts the most attention on this underwater “field”. Opened in the late 1990s, in 2002 it was explored by a German expedition, later a joint European expedition, and the following year by a Ukrainian expedition aboard the Professor Professor Vodyanytsky.

In the summer of 2002, researchers were able to observe two gas emissions from this volcano. The diameter of each was 400 meters and the height of the “fountain” at a depth of two kilometers reached 850 meters. It is much more powerful than any land-based mud volcano in the Crimea or located at the bottom of the Kerch Strait. Of course, if the ship falls into the zone of influence of such an eruption – he can not escape.

The danger of volcanism for navigation in the Kerch Strait, in the Black and Azov Seas, unfortunately, is not theoretical, but proved by tragedies, including in the current century. There is a well-known story when at the bottom of the Kerch Strait, a little south of the island (then still a peninsula) of Tuzla, the ship “Caesar” ran aground in 1914, which was not marked on the pilot maps, and therefore formed shortly before, probably due to a mud volcano. Analysis of soil samples from that shoal indicated breccia.

Up to 10,000 vessels pass through the Kerch Strait every year (or at least passed until 2014). Lotions indicate the unpredictability of the navigable situation and uncertainty at these depths. Every second, a sudden eruption of one of the underwater mud volcanoes can change everything, forming a shoal or even an island.

On January 26, 2001, the ship “Memory of Mercury” left Istanbul for Evpatoria. The overload exceeded all possible norms, in addition, the ship was designed only for coastal navigation, not for hiking on the high seas. So an emergency was inevitable, a natural factor was enough, and it happened. The ship overturned and sank. In addition to the crew, there were passengers, a total of fifty-two people.

Fortunately, some were rescued. According to these people, before the ship capsized and sank, they heard a loud bang – a sound unusual, not to be confused with anything. It is speculated that it could have been a large gas emission explosion. The Institute of Geophysics of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine confirmed that on the day of the shipwreck a small earthquake occurred at the bottom of the Black Sea in the very place where the “Memory of Mercury” was located. It is possible that the emission of gas or a full-fledged volcanic eruption could have killed the ship.

In 2003, another shipwreck also occurred in the area southwest of Cape Sarich. On January 5, 2003, the Amira-1 ship with a tonnage of 10,000 tons left the port of Mariupol with a cargo of 9,180 tons of coal to Turkey. The ship was flying the flag of Tunisia, although it was owned by a Turkish company. Amira-1 crossed the Kerch Strait into the Black Sea, but did not reach its destination port. The last time the Kerch radar saw the ship was on January 6 at 2:10 p.m. In three days, an American passenger plane flying over the Black Sea caught the signal of the Amira-1 emergency buoy, passed the information to the relevant Ukrainian service, after which a search and rescue operation began, which was joined by Russian and Turkish rescuers. However, they failed to save the sailors, unfortunately. Lifebuoy, four life jackets,two life rafts – all that was found, and these tools did not help the crew of “Amira-1”.

The joint Ukrainian-Tunisian commission could not find out the reasons for the ship’s death. But both of these cases occurred in the area of ​​activity of underwater mud volcanoes.

Mud volcanoes appear only to be locally exotic, but this only continues until they wake up. The notion of the processes that regulate the mode of “sleep” or “awakening” of a volcano, even mud, is still vague for science. It is impossible to predict when the eruption will occur.

Two mud volcanoes that “sleep” near Kerch – one a few hundred meters from Arshintsev, and the second, closer to Kerch – are located clearly on both sides of the pillars of the Crimean bridge. Given that methane from the volcano erupts from any lightning, and in the case of the expected laying of a Russian gas pipeline to the Crimea under the Kerch Strait bridge, one can imagine what a magical show residents of the easternmost city of Crimea can see if disaster strikes.

Mud volcanoes have the property not only to wake up after a long sleep, but also to be born almost on an equal footing. For example, Starunya in the Ivano-Frankivsk region – the only mud volcano in Ukraine, with the exception of the Crimea – emerged in 1977 after an earthquake in Romania. Mud volcano “Starunya” is a flat clay cone with a diameter of 20 m and a height of 1.5 m with a small mouth with a diameter of 0.3 m, through which from time to time emit clay, brine and gas bubbles. Today it has eight large craters and a dozen small ones. Since 1984, Starunya is a geological monument of nature.

But the earthquake was only one, albeit powerful, factor, the origin of this volcano is due to human activity. More than a century ago, oil and ozokerite fields began to be developed here. Groundwater, saturated with oxygen, began to penetrate into the earth for a thousand meters, causing the oxidation of oil, which supports the influx of thermal energy, which feeds the volcano.

Unlike Starun, Crimean volcanoes have existed since ancient times. People, although we are flattered to call ourselves kings of nature, have to reckon with their neighborhood and adapt to their unpredictable nature. No wonder the Crimean Tatars called them “enemies”. Science still knows very little about them, can not predict when “sleeping will wake up.”

Geologists call them free drilling wells, and perhaps the only people happy with the eruption, bringing them material to study just from the depths of the earth.

The diversity of the nature of the Crimea, where on the territory of 27 thousand square kilometers is collected almost everything imaginable, and in an hour or two of travel as if you find yourself completely in another geographical area, is fascinating. Volcanoes are just one of the Crimean wonders.

[i] Valley of mud volcanoes

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The project was implemented with the support of the Ukrainian Cultural Foundation

Valery Verkhovsky

Author of culturological articles, journalist of the newspaper "Crimean svitlytsia"

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