Muddy Volcanoes – a view from the moon

Buzau area is packed with strange phenomena due to the meeting of tectonic plates and volcanic and earthquake activity. Some of the most interesting things happening here are the muddy “volcano”.

There are several points of exits for the gas from 3000 meters, and this forms what we call muddy volcanoes.

Like magmatic volcanoes, the water volcanoes are earth-shapers, and in a way destructive, but in a more artistic manner. Both type of volcano come from the depth of the earth, but one carry lava and other carry gas and what comes into its way up (mud and water). It is oddly satisfying to watch these volcanic inoffensive replicas, it is like watching a deadly event, but being completely safe. The only difference is that it is not red and heated, but the bubbly, the explosions, the drainage of the clay-ish water is a spectacle you rarely get to see this close. It’s like a playground or a simulation where you get to participate, without special training or heavy protection gear. Participating in this communication between 2 worlds, the deep, mysterious underground, sending messages of gas composition, water and oil mixture, and, the upper world with its superstitions. It is not surprising that this place is considered a representation of hell on earth due to the underground materials send to to the surface and the desolated look created by the harden mud that is not suitable for life and due to the boiling effect of the mud created by the pressurized gas coming to the surface.

In between lavish and luxurious vegetation lies the sterile land of the muddy volcanoes with rising peaks of active cones or pools. Each time you visit this place it is a new and distinct landform. Each new explosion creates a new wave of mud going gravitational wise by the law of physics, each drop of water from rain, each pale of wind and even each step of humans and animals leave a fingerprint on this very fragile and ephemeral landscape. Nothing will be like before, your glimpse is an irreversible moment in time. The artists that work with clay designs a different sculpture each moment.

The fresh fluid mud goes down on the path like a river or decides to take a new direction and cover the harden and cracked old mud creating a new shape.

Because of the lifeless landscape with its fifty shades of gray everywhere you look, with mounds and mud river, with tiles formed where the mud has harden, it has given the resembles to the moon landscape.

There are 3 main “volcanic areas” all situated near Berca, Buzau:

  • Paclele Mari
  • Paclele Mici
  • Paclele Beciu

They are all different and unique in their own way.

Paclele mari (Big) is the more touristic one. I find that the cones are higher and the hole landscape is more interesting here as the river bed can be a few meters high. This is the place you get the most lunar feeling from all, but despite their names (big), they are not the biggest. Even if it is hard to evaluate the criteria for the biggest, this area does not have the biggest activity, does not have the most of volcanoes and does not have the largest ones. In fact Paclele Mici – the small one – have all the above. To get to them you will leave you car and climb the hill that is protecting the area form the eye. You are welcomed in the area by a 2 meters diameter volcano boiling in its black and white theme. From here the exploration begins, all up and down to see what is coming up next, what surprise has nature reserved for you.

I cannot decide on my favorite. I like the Paclele Mici because it is truly impressive, but the Paclele from Beciu are so isolated and raw that made the experience remarkable.

Few recommendations:

  • don’t go when it is raining or after heavy rain period, the area is closed, and even if it wouldn’t be it would be impossible to move because the mud gets very slippery;
  • accept the fact that there is a chance to get your shoes dirty, or even lose some. We stepped on a very soft area in Paclele from Beciu and the shoe was stucked in the mud. Remember to check before you step.

It is one of the most rewarding experience and you should add it to your visit in Romania. It can be done in one day from Bucharest and you can even add some more points of interest in the area: trovants from Ulmet, Living fire from Terca, salt plateau from Meledic, amber museum from COlti, cave settlements from Alunis. Or you can go from here to Brasov by car, and the route is far better tahnValea Prahovei option and you can pass by Siriu Lake with its blue waters. We created an itinerary to visit the 3 muddy Volcanoes near Berca, Buzau on Toura:

This photogenic set is the perfect location for your instagramable desires.