Slow Moving Disaster Threatens California

Not Only Earthquakes, but Mud Springs Also Form at Fault Lines

Sixty years ago, a muddy spring from the San Andreas fault in southern California began to form, moving slowly across the land; 10 years ago it began to pick up speed.

This muddy spring, also known as the Niland Geyser, first appeared in the 1950s. For decades, the spring laid dormant. But just ten years ago, the muddy spring began its slow movement, taking several months to move just 60 feet. Now, since it is moving faster, it can move the same distance in a single day. In a decade, the pit has moved 240 feet and its speed is only increasing.

The Niland Geyser can be very dangerous. It emits foul odors and eighty degrees Fahrenheit bubbles, made out of carbon dioxide and formed from the depths of the Earth, emerge from the springs. If anyone were to fall into these springs, they would die within minutes due to the lack of oxygen.

One of the spring's most frightening characteristics is its ability to consume land. The spring has gotten close enough that it endangers the Union Pacific railroad lines that connect California and Yuma, Arizona.

Several attempts were made to halt the spring's movement. Union Pacific drained water and even constructed a 100-foot-long and 75-foot-deep wall of steel and boulders to protect its lines. However, the spring simply slid under the wall, making the effort useless.

This mud spring is a big, deadly and land-consuming natural disaster that people are trying to stop from destroying everything in its path, with no success yet. Several other manmade structures such as Highway 111, fiber optic lines, and a petroleum pipeline are also in the mudspring's path.

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Thank you for sharing this important information, Felicea. I had no idea about this mudspring. Great work! – Leila Fletcher , Madison West High School (2019-09-24 16:47)