Susan C. Anthony

Mud in the mud volcanoesSalton Sea Mud Volcanoes

March 3, 2006

On our first trip to the Salton Sea area in 2005, Sherrie very much wanted to take us to the mud volcanoes near Niland. But it rained and rained and rained. Driving the long muddy roads to get there would have been hard enough; walking to them across a field of slippery clay would have been dangerous if not impossible. We didn't get there until 2006.

The mud volcanoes not commercialized. There are no signs. Directions are cryptic. Turn right in Niland and drive to the end of the road. Turn left and drive to the end of that road. Then walk out on the field to your left, look and listen. The earth is alive with gurgling!

In 2009, we noticed a drilling rig in the area. By 2012, there was a geothermal plant! We toured a Salton Sea geothermal operation in 2009 and learned about new Israeli technology that makes it possible to extract geothermal energy less expensively from more marginal areas. We were surprised to hear that earth-lovers oppose geothermal energy, despite the fact that it is renewable and non-polluting. Perhaps, suggested one geologist friend, they just don't like the word "drill."

As I heard a TV commentator say, we're no longer dealing with NIMBY people ("not in my back yard") but BANANA people ("build absolutely nothing anytime near anybody"). I might take extreme environmentalists more seriously if they would renounce their own use of energy and technology. The "good ole days" prior to modern technology were anything but idyllic. Anyone without wealth or slaves was so busy meeting their most basic needs that they rarely had time to contemplate the beauty of nature. They fought with nature for their very survival and nature often won. Nothing is more "natural" than suffering, disease and death. We recommend the movie Heartland about Wyoming homesteaders, for a taste of what life was really like in the "good ole days" when people lived close to the land, not by choice but by necessity.

In spite of politics, the mud volcanoes bubble happily on. The mud is incredible!  It would probably be perfect for pottery. 

Go on to read Ladder Canyon
Source:, ┬ęSusan C. Anthony