Global Distribution of Mud Volcanoes and Their Significance in Petroleum Exploration as a Source of Methane in the Atmosphere and Hydrosphere and as a Geohazard

  • Alexei V. Milkov
Part of the NATO Science Series book series (NAIV, volume 51)


Mud volcanoes occur worldwide in areas of rapid sedimentation, lateral tectonic compression, and geologically recent magmatic activity. The total number of individual mud volcanoes on the Earth exceeds 2,000 and this number is growing as the exploration of deep oceans continues. Sediments and fluids expelled from mud volcanoes provide useful information on the geology and petroleum potential of deep sedimentary basins. Mud volcanoes are considered to be a minor but yet not fully recognized and properly quantified source of greenhouse gases (mainly methane) in the atmosphere. A significant (but still uncertain) amount of methane may escape into the ocean and affect the size and characteristics of the ocean carbon pool. Finally, mud volcanoes represent a recognized geohazard that affects life forms and petroleum exploitation. This paper reviews the results of recent studies into worldwide mud volcanism.

Key words

mud volcanoes petroleum systems methane atmosphere geohazards 


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Copyright information

© Springer 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Alexei V. Milkov
    • 1
  1. 1.Exploration and Production Technology GroupHoustonUSA

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