There are more than 1,100 such muddy volcanoes in the world and just a few of them in Europe. However, the majority of the ones in Europe are underneath the sea – in the North Sea, Barents and Caspian Seas.
The Berca Mud Volcanoes are a 60-acre botanical and geological reservation located in Scorțoasa commune close to Berca in Buzău County, Romania.
The conical structure of the volcanic formations is given by the mud’s contact with the arid soil and the surrounding air. They are found at 322 m altitude. The locals refer to these mud volcanoes as “pots,” “The Gates of Hell,” or “mist.”.
The scenic plateau has been the subject for many video clips of many famous Romanian artists, such as – 3 Sud Est, Inna, or Iris. For instance, Paclele Mici and Paclele Mari areas are visited by nearly 15,000-20,000 tourists per year.
Berca Mud Volcanoes formation:
When the Carpathians were still forming (probably during the Alpine orogeny in the Mesozoic), this region was described by intense tectonic activity. Moreover, significant amounts of natural gasses became trapped between the huge rock deposits and the large rifts. Thus, on their natural attempt to escape, they formed this strange area.
In these volcanoes, the gas comes from more than 3000 meters and goes through a clay sector, then through the underground water. The craters are up to 6m high with intermittent or permanent eruptions, whose intensity depend on the water that infiltrates the soil. Around the volcanoes, there are large quantities of salt efflorescence formed as a crust and there is no vegetation.
These interesting volcanoes are active all the time, which actually signifies that the gas is pushing mud to the surface in a continuous way, but at low speeds. The moment when the mud resurfaces is commonly signaled through a specific sound before the mud bubble bursts.
The lack of vegetation in this zone adds to the surreal landscape, except for a few rare plants, such as Obione verrucifera and Nitraria schoberi.
How to reach Vulcanii Noroiosi?
These volcanoes can be found on two separate but close plateaus called the Big Mud Volcanoes (Paclele Mari) and the Little Mud Volcanoes (Paclele Mici).
Access is made via DN 10 (Buzau – Brasov), then DP Satuc-Berca-Joseni-Policiori until km 8, and DC Polciori – Pacle until km 5, plus 3 km to the left for the Paclele Mici and 1 km ahead for Paclele Mari.
Tourists have to pay an entrance fee before visiting the area – 4 Ron (1 $ for adults, students – 2 Ron, 1 Ron for pupils). Also, you can free park near the entrance of the Paclele Mari reservation. More importantly, there is a restaurant, Hangar, nearest to Paclele Mici, and a restaurant and hotel nearest to Paclele Mari.