Mud volcano erupts beside temple in southern Taiwan

A mud volcano that regularly erupts in an area of Pingtung County erupted again yesterday, and this time appeared to bubble up from beneath the foundations of a temple.

At around 5:00 am yesterday, April 8, residents heard a rumble before muddy water and gas suddenly began to boil up beside the rear corner of the Huangyuan Temple building in Wannei Village, Wandan Township. One window of the temple broke, and this morning pictures emerged of the ground floor areas inside the temple inundated with a thick slurry of mud.

A temple manager said that they had only recently finished cleaning up after the last eruption close to the building on October 13, 2021. Noting that the temple was short staffed, village chief Chen Yuyi said that he hoped volunteers would pitch in to help clean up the temple.

Mud covering floor of temple after mud volcano erupts. Picture: Pingtung residents Facebook group.
mud on floor of temple interior
Mud on floor of temple after mud volcano erupts. Picture: Pingtung residents Facebook group.

Chen organized an excavator to help divert the slurry into drainage ditches and away from roads and surrounding rice paddies. With crops almost ready to harvest, farmers were concerned about the mud flowing into their fields. The mud has a high salinity, forms an impermeable, unoxygenated layer, and is unsuitable for farming, they said.

Coincidently, a 5.6 magnitude earthquake off the coast of Pingtung County shook the area around one hour after the eruption. Taiwan’s Central Weather Bureau said that the two incidents were not related.

The eruption lasted around 12 hours and by 5:00 pm had stopped completely. Eruptions regularly occur in the area on the border of Wandan and Xinyuan townships at intervals of around six months to one year. Locals usually ignite the gas to burn it off, but this time the eruption occurred too close to the building to safely do so.

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