Government of Trinidad and Tobago
Facebook Twitter Youtube

You are here


Devil's Woodyard Mud Volcano


What is a Mud Volcano?

The term “mud volcano” is generally applied to a geological phenomenon of surfaces extrusion of watery mud or clay. 

Commonly, the activity of a mud volcano is simply an upwelling of hot water, fine sediment (mud and clay) accompanied by gas bubbles.

It is NOT a magma volcano but carries the name volcano due to its volcano-shaped cone and bubbly activities. It is usually less than 1-2 m tall.

“The mud of the volcanoes is a mixture of clay and salt water which is kept in the state of a slurry by the boiling or churning activity of escaping methane gas” (Geological Society of Trinidad and Tobago).

Usually, the mud volcanoes bubble gently and are a great site to visit.  However, there are instances of highly explosive eruptions where large masses of rock or mud have been violently blown out into the air and scattered widely over hundreds of feet.

 History of Mud Volcanoes

There are eleven known Mud Volcanoes in Trinidad. The most popular is the Devil’s Woodyard, Piparo, and Digity Mud Volcanoes. There are also some mud volcanoes offshore the East and South Coasts of Trinidad.

The Devil’s Woodyard is located in Hindustan in New Grant near Princes Town. It is one of the most visited of Trinidad's mud volcanoes.

A series of several vents first appeared in 1852 along with the first eruption. Other major eruptions occurred in 1888-1889, 1906, 1942, 1969, 1988 and 1995 (Knight, Scott, and Grierson, 1998). This eruption in 1995 killed 1 person and left 31 persons homeless.

The mud volcano was dormant until February, 2018. There were three (3) confirmed eruptions. The first set of reported increased geological activity occurred at approximately 6:00 pm on Monday 12th February, 2018. There were two eruptions on Carnival Tuesday 13th February, 2018 at 4:20 am and another at 8:52 am. The eruptions resulted in mud spewing out approximately 100 metres in width and 6 metres in height.

According to an assessment conducted by the Geological Society of Trinidad and Tobago, the area of mud was recorded to extend 2.7 acres, and the thickest section of mudflow reached heights of up to 16 feet (4.5-5.5m).  The mud covered the old area of the volcano and pushed into the surrounding tree line.

The Geological Society of Trinidad and Tobago (GSTT) and the Environmental Management Authority (EMA) are currently observing the increased geological activity at the Devil’s Woodyard, New Grant, Princes Town. 

Hazards associated with the Mud Volcano

·         Toxicity- Material expelled from the volcano might be toxic and contain high concentrations of gas emissions. Such gases may be carbon dioxide, nitrogen dioxide, hydrogen sulphide, methane which is a flammable gas. However, air quality testing of the surrounding area at the Devil’s Woodyard site by the Environmental Management Agency has shown no trace of any toxic gas.

·         Volume of material- Using 3D mapping techniques, the GSTT has determined that 174,000 barrels of mud have been exuded from the Mud Volcano. This has affected surrounding vegetation and building structures by the Princes Town Regional Corporation.  

·         Associated local ground deformation is possible and could affect nearby building structures- The Princes Town Regional Corporation conducted a Damage Assessment and Needs Analysis (DANA) of the area which confirmed that there is structural damage to the Corporation’s infrastructure on site. However, no homes were directly affected by the increased geologic activity.

Mud Volcano Fun Facts

·         The Devil’s Woodyard was the largest and most well-known mud volcano prior to the 1997 eruption of the Piparo Mud Volcano.

·         Legend has it that the site got its name after the first eruption in 1852. This eruption shook the entire village, causing existing tall trees to fall and frighten the Amerindian villagers. The villagers at the time believed that the devil had come from beneath the earth, and that how it got its name “Devil’s Woodyard”.

·         Some of the mud volcanoes in Azerbaijan have created islands, both permanent and temporary, in addition to submarine banks.

·         In 2001, a mud volcano only 15 kilometers from Baku, Azerbaijan, erupted, shooting flames that reached 49 feet in the air.

Safety Tips:

1)      Do not go within close proximity to the source of the volcano where mud is or was being ejected.

2)      Keep a safe distance away from the general area of the mud volcano, and stay out of designated restricted zones.

3)      If you live in close proximity to a mud volcano, always have an emergency kit and evacuation plan.

4)      Practice evacuation drills with your family members.

5)      Be Alert! Listen out for any updates and information from local authorities, both during and after via television or radio. You should always have a portable, battery-powered radio on hand in the event of a power outage.

6)      In the event of an eruption, follow any evacuation orders issued by authorities, and put your Family Disaster Plan into action if directed to evacuate. 

To read more about Mud Volcanoes in Trinidad and Tobago please visit the Geological Society of Trinidad & Tobago Facebook page. Please click here 






Date Added: 22/02/2018

 Calendar     Hazard Maps         Emergency Contacts