Friday Photo: Amazing Mud Volcano Eruption in Java, Indonesia

Imagine walking on a crackling surface of dried mud, and you can feel that even though the surface is solid there is movement underneath. Then as you step, your feet break the crust and you drop ankle deep into warm mud. Then as you free yourself and start to creep forward the ground in front of you starts gurgling and belching, shooting muddy water up a half meter into the air.

That’s what happened to us when we traveled to a mud volcano field called Bledug Kuwu, located  in Central Java, Indonesia. We crossed the field as we wanted to see the main eruption from close by. Even though in the large field there are many of small eruptions, in a few spots where the mud erupts quite high.

We took a few pictures of the main eruption, and this one really stuck out. I call it the “Pikachu eruption” because I think the shape resembles Pikachu, that main bright yellow Pokemon (don’t tell me you don’t know it!)  This one shot way up into the air, about 10 meters! Well, it’s not easy to predict the real height, but that’s our best guess. It was quite amazing to see a mud volcano eruption up close like this, which was also a new natural phenomena for us at that time.

So, have you seen a mud volcano? Any other geothermal activity, like regular volcanoes or hot springs? Share it with us!

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23 Responses to “Friday Photo: Amazing Mud Volcano Eruption in Java, Indonesia”

  1. Jen Laceda
    11 June 2010 at 1:01 pm #

    This is so amazing, Dina. The closest I got to a geothermal experience was when Mt. Pinatubo erupted in the Philippines. Although the volcano was far from the capital city, we experienced ash rains…
    .-= Jen Laceda´s last blog ..Memories of Athens: Mythology, Blue Skies, and Raucous Tavernas =-.

    • Dina
      15 June 2010 at 11:19 pm #

      Hi Jen, Thanks! Sorry that you had to experience ash rains, I don’t think it’s a fun thing… or I’m wrong?

  2. Eli
    12 June 2010 at 1:54 am #

    Sadly, I know Pikachu. I know him very well. And yes, it does look like a muddy little yellow Pokemon guy.

    I’ve never seen a mud volcano, but I’ve seen a couple of the other kind of volcano, you know, the fire and brimstone kind. Awesome timing on that picture.

    .-= Eli´s last blog ..Living In Transit Official Travel Itinerary: Phase One =-.

    • Dina
      15 June 2010 at 11:28 pm #

      Know him very well, eh! You play the game? Glad you think the mud does look like him, Ryan didn’t agree with me about that :)

      Is Brimstone volcano the sulfur-y one? I think the sulfur crusts look pretty. I never see the lava volcano when it’s erupting (or even just with little lava flowing). Read in some other blog posts about roasting marshmallow on lava, sounds so cool!

      (Good timing indeed, when else I can capture a Pikachu ;) )

  3. Jen
    12 June 2010 at 5:23 am #

    It looks so gross yet so much fun at the same time. Hopefully you guys were wearing flip flops or something equally easy to clean/discard. Squishy foot syndrome is LAME. Mud Pikachu. How awesome.

    • Dina
      15 June 2010 at 11:34 pm #

      I think the mud was eventually dried out and flaked away. I agree squishy foot syndrome is not fun!
      Glad you can see the Pikachu-ness in it, as I explained to Eli, Ryan didn’t agree with me about the Pikachu-ness!
      I was actually a bit scared when passing the mud field, like.. there was no guaranty it wouldn’t erupt where we walk. They just said, not likely but possible.

  4. Jennifer Barry
    13 June 2010 at 3:19 am #

    I haven’t seen any volcanoes up close – not even the mud kind. We have tornadoes here sometimes in Dallas, Texas but no mountains. I would like to go to Iceland someday to see the geysers and other cool geothermal stuff. :)
    .-= Jennifer Barry´s last blog ..Chile’s Proud People =-.

    • Dina
      15 June 2010 at 11:37 pm #

      Tornadoes sound dangerous to watch, but if I can do it safely, would love to watch! Tere are a lot of amazing geothermal spots in North Island NZ for you to someday visit :)

  5. Earl
    14 June 2010 at 1:47 pm #

    That’s unreal! And it’s far more impressive than the spurting mud I saw all over the North Island of NZ…

    Active volanoes in any form have always fascinated me with their grand displays of power. When I used to work on a ship in Hawaii, I tried to visit the active Kilaeua Volcano as often as possible. There you can hike right up to the molten lava, watch it flow into the ocean and observe the island growing larger every second.
    .-= Earl´s last blog ..Spending Some Time in a Place Called Old Lyme =-.

    • Dina
      15 June 2010 at 11:42 pm #

      I agree with you, Earl, the power underneath is fascinating. And feeling that the earth shape is actually very dynamic is also really something (give me kind off shiver). I really hope to see molten lava someday, I saw some pictures, really cool! (or hot)

  6. JR Riel
    14 June 2010 at 1:52 pm #

    Whoa triiippy…and you guys stepped in that while it was going off like that? I’d be freaked out to go anywhere near it! Definitely a great shot tho.
    .-= JR Riel´s last blog ..Drifter’s Thoughts: Dining Choices…Foreign vs. Familiar =-.

    • Dina
      15 June 2010 at 11:47 pm #

      They convinced me that it’s save to go across the field. Some people did it, and my sister and Ryan were not hesitating walking there, so I tagged along! Yea it went off every a several seconds/minutes.

  7. Mary R
    21 June 2010 at 6:23 pm #

    Wow, how amazing that you got to witness this!
    .-= Mary R´s last blog ..Falling Down the Rabbit Hole =-.

    • Dina
      6 July 2010 at 10:13 pm #

      The mud eruption for that particular spot was pretty active when we were there, we were lucky!

  8. Leng | Globe Nomads
    6 July 2010 at 11:52 am #

    Geography lesson comes alive! Looks pretty dangerous though. I would maintain a clear distance if I was there. Furthermore, it may be hot too and I can’t imagine if you are caught in one. 10 metres up in the air?
    .-= Leng | Globe Nomads´s last blog ..Book the BEST accommodations by checking out the WORST reviews =-.

    • Dina
      6 July 2010 at 10:20 pm #

      That particular spot (well, moving around a bit) was pretty active when we were there, big (much much bigger than in other spots) eruptions happened every some seconds or minutes. You are right, I kept thinking about how if we got caught in one, because I saw some quite spots that suddenly gurgling too in a distance. I was quite nervous…

  9. Dave
    10 August 2010 at 10:11 am #

    Glad you guys were OK! I saw some mud eruptions at Wai-O-Tapu in New Zealand. But it was really hard to get a decent picture, because boiling just looks boring when you take a still photo. It wasn’t erupting in such an awesome way as what you photographed!
    Dave´s last post…Guided Munich

    • Dina
      24 August 2010 at 11:12 am #

      Thanks, Dave! Too bad we skipped Wai-O-Tapu, So we didn’t go to the same boiling mud with you. But the view boiling muds we saw in NZ was not very big, and they didn’t allow us to just walk around on it. So I guess you are taking some videos as well?

  10. Francis
    27 June 2012 at 6:04 am #

    This is an amazingly fine picture of the mud volcanoe at Bledug Kuwu. I am, together with two co-authors, preparing a publication in which I would like to use this photograph. Of course I need your consent.
    The publication in question is a trans;ation in Dutch of the highly interesting but more or less forgotten journeys of a Javanase nobleman from 1860-1875 on the island of Java. He visited this spot and describes it. Th book will be published in a samll print run of 1000 copies only, because of its limited potential audience.
    I would very much appreciate your consent to use this picture in our book.
    Kind regards,
    Francis Koot

    • Dina
      28 June 2012 at 4:47 am #

      Thank you for the compliment!
      And yes, we would love to contribute to the publication! Please credit the photo to
      Will you please let us know about the book? Like the title, author, and so on, we are interested to know! And if it’s possible, could we have a copy?

      Here’s my email address if you want to contact me directly:

      Warm regards from Canada,

  11. Bettina
    4 October 2012 at 6:24 pm #

    I found your blog because I’m planning my trip to Java and Kalimantan. Do you mind telling me how best to get here via public transportation? It’s not in my Lonely Planet, and I’m happy for that…but how do I get here?!

    • Ryan
      27 October 2012 at 1:59 pm #

      Java and Kalimantan are huge places! There are so many options for getting around, it will really depend on where you’re going and how much time you have. I’d start researching at

      There are also lots of discount flights around Indonesia. You won’t find them on the usual flight search engines, but does a good job searching the budget Indonesian carriers.

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