Tag Archives: mud volcano

Mud Volcano in Kalabakan (Sabah)

Kalabakan Mud Volcano

Just a few months ago, Sabah newspapers reported an emergence of a mud volcano near the road in Menumbok. People were a bit concern and thought it’s an omen for earthquake. Luckily nothing happened. However, the mud volcano that I’ll show you here is even bigger and more active.

parking car at roadside

This mud volcano is probably the most accessible one, as it’s just next to the road

Checking out the mud volcano

Checking out the mud volcano

This mud volcano is about 15.5 KM after the gate of Maliau Basin to the direction of Tawau City (GPS: 4.5478012, 117.0619419, see Location Map or Street View).

The location of the mud volcano

The location of the mud volcano

Since we couldn’t see this mud volcano from our car, it took us some times to spot it.

mud volcano in a drain a few Meters down

The mud volcano is in a drain a few Meters down

This mud volcano is about 6 Meters in diameter, with a mild surface upwelling of mud, water and natural gas bubbles.

The mud looks quite fresh

Silky mud burping and bubbling in mud volcano pool

Even though it is at the roadside, where hundreds of cars passing by every day, very few know about it because it is at the bottom of a drain.

Collecting mud from mud volcano

This mud volcano isn’t inside a private property, so anyone can collect mud from it.

Actually mud volcano is common in Sabah, for example, Pulau Tiga Island is created by mud volcano in 1897. Lapid, the largest mud volcano of Sabah is in Tabin Wildlife Reserve.

Scooping the mud

Volcanic mud contains hundreds of times more sodium, calcium and trace elements than normal soil.

There are even some mud volcano hills formed up to 2 miles in diameter and a few hundred feet high, and commonly reported in the Dent Peninsula area. Normally, mud volcano erupts quietly, but it can be violet sometimes. Like the eruption of a mud volcano on Pulau Tiga Island in 1941, the sound could be heard as far as 160 KM.

active mud volcano

This mud volcano is very active

We only stopped by this mud volcano for a few minutes, to collect its fresh mud, which is rich in minerals and great for skin care. We can apply this grey mud on our face as a facial mask.

Girl pointing at mud volcano

Hey! I want this!

In other countries, someone makes soap with such mud and able to sell for a good profit. And this mud volcano seems to have endless free supply of mud.

Ladies taking photo next to mud volcano

Good for Skin. Every woman wishes to have a Mud Volcano in their house

This super active mud volcano looks like erupting, but I think it’s only releasing gas like a “farting pool”. Mud volcano is formed when over-pressured natural gas escapes along cracks in the earth’s surface, carrying mud, water and rocks with it.

couple taking photo next to mud volcano

One for the album. This mud volcano would be gone in future.

We didn’t know about this mud volcano. It’s someone from Junction 41 told us about this place.

Junction 41

Junction 41 is a small station next to Kalabakan-Tawau road. There are many logging truck drivers stop here for a break.

Junction 41 in Kalabakan

Junction 41 in Kalabakan

After long hours of driving in remote and interior area, any sign of civilization is welcome by motorists, though Junction 41 is nothing more than a few building.

Mini market of Junction 41

Mini market of Junction 41 is open on 14th and 15th day of every month

On 14th and 15th day of every month, the locals hold small open-air market that sells various items such as electronic goods, food, fruit & veges, cloth and snacks.

logging truck driver

Many logging truck drivers stop at Junction 41 for a break

Fancy toilet sign at Junction 41

Fancy toilet sign at Junction 41

old fashion toilet at Junction 41

Hello! Long time no see. An old fashion toilet at Junction 41

Junction 41 has a Chinese restaurant built by Uncle Chew, a Malaysian from Johor Bahru. He was working as a contractor here many years ago, then he fell in love with this place and settle down here.

Chinese Restaurant at Junction 41 (Serve No Pork)

Chinese Restaurant at Junction 41 (Serve No Pork)

Uncle Chew is very interesting man who even tries to talk to wild elephants, and he believes they can understand him too. That’s him who told us there is a mud volcano about 250 Meters away from Junction 41.

Black and white cat at Junction 41

Cat at Junction 41. Don’t ask me why I post this.

I only stopped by his restaurant shortly to have fried noodle as lunch. Next time if you visit his shop, do talk to him, and he definitely has a lot of stories to share.

Photos taken in Kalabakan, Sabah, Malaysia Borneo

Mud Volcano in Kuala Penyu

Applying volcano mud on face

Real volcano is intimidating, but mud volcano is intriguing. Mud volcano is formed when natural gas builds up enough pressure in the earth’s crust to push mud, water and gases to the surface. It is found in many locations on earth and even on planet Mars.

The location of mud volcano in Kuala Penyu

The location of mud volcano in Kuala Penyu

Sometimes mud volcano can emerge at unexpected places. One of them is located on a knoll 5 Kilometers away from Kuala Penyu town (see Location Map), and believed to be connected to the same mud volcanic network of Pulau Tiga Island 18 Km away, an island created by mud volcano.

Burping mud volcano in the pond

Burping mud volcano in the pond. About 86% of the gas released from mud volcano is combustible methane.

Though producing no lava, mud volcano looks like a miniature version of true igneous volcano, a little wonder of nature. Last month the operator of Borneo Kuala Penyu Homestay in Kuala Penyu brought me and other guests to an active mud volcano in Bakung. After 5 minutes of driving on tar road near Kuala Penyu, we turned to a junction with narrow countryside road that led us to a plantation half a Km away.

The following video shows you what we did with mud volcano:

We got off our cars and walked 30 Metres to a pond which is surrounded by trees and shrubs. I looked around but saw no volcano. Dr. Monih, our host pointed to the pond and said , “See the bubbling in the pond? It’s from the mud volcano.” Apparently the mud volcano is under the water.

The pond where mud volcano hidden

The pond where mud volcano hidden

According to the land owner, this mud volcano has existed since 1960s, and the pond seldom goes dry even during drought. This oval-shaped pond is about 35 x 10 Metres in size and doesn’t seem to connect to any water source such as river. Probably the water is coming from the mud volcano.

This mud volcano was discovered in 1960s

This mud volcano was discovered in 1960s

Then Dr. Monih asked a worker to scoop some mud from the pond. “Rub this mud on your face, and you will become beautiful,” he said.

A bucket of mud from mud volcano

Apply this on your face. It’s Free LOL

He wasn’t kidding (though he laughed). This mud is rich in natural minerals that are good for skin and promote good complexion. People also believe it can soothe irritated skin and even cure psoriasis. A bath in mud volcano would heal some ailments such as rheumatism.

Applying volcano mud on the face

Applying volcano mud on the face

guys crazy about mud SPA

Even guys are crazy about mud SPA

From what I read in a few research papers, mud from mud volcano consists of high concentration of Iron, Magnesium, Sodium, Calcium, and Potassium. Wildlife loves to visit mud volcano for “salt lick”, to get essential mineral nutrients for their bodies, just like human taking vitamin pills as supplment.

Mud volcano pond

This pond never goes dry even during drought

Mud volcano acts as “window” to see what are deep underground because it can transport gas, liquid, and solid particles from depths of several kilometres up to the surface. Therefore, it’s no surprise that the mud might consist of rare earth materials useful for a mud therapy.

Collecting volcano mud

Collecting volcano mud

The fresh mud is fine-grained clay in dark gray color. Perhaps the mud is from the pond, so it smells like decomposed organic substances of peat. I just applied some mud on my hands for fun. The mud is neither cool nor warm.

Volcano mud is rich in minerals

Volcano mud is rich in minerals

Some guests decide to take some mud back home. Sometimes mud volcano would give people more than mud. It is often associated with petroleum deposits. Therefore, if a mud volcano pop-up in your backyard, do celebrate.

Taking mud

Take away as much mud as you want

To see this mud volcano in private land, you can call Dr. Monih Epin (Tel: +60 19-8106786) or Ms Monica Gualin (Tel: +60 13-8517633), the operator of Borneo Kuala Penyu Homestay to arrange a visit (fee may apply).

Papaya trees

Papaya trees

We saw a few yellow papaya not far away from the mud volcano. At first I thought the fruit turned yellow because of malnutrition. Then they told me that it’s only found in Sawangan of Kuala Penyu (probably a mutant caused by soil of mud volcano?).

Yellow papaya in Kuala Penyu

Yellow papaya in Kuala Penyu

Green and yellow papaya

Green Vs Yellow papaya

However, I didn’t give it a try *regret*. According to Dr. Monih, it is really sweet.

Yellow papaya

Yellow papaya

Other Mud Volcanoes of Sabah:

Photos taken in Kuala Penyu, Sabah, Malaysia Borneo