Davis-Schrimpf Seep Field – Calipatria, California - Atlas Obscura
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Calipatria, California

Davis-Schrimpf Seep Field

Burping, gurgling geothermal mud pots by the Salton Sea. 

Within a mere two square miles of the desert outside the Salton Sea there are enough gryphons, gas vents, salses, and mudpots to delight any geological oddity enthusiast.

At the Davis-Schrimpf Seep Field, geothermal mudpots announce themselves by belching gray bubbles from short sludge volcanoes. The bubbling seep fields are caused by the buildup of carbon dioxide beneath the surface of the earth, which pushes to the surface through the water table and sediment. As such, these aren’t true volcanoes. They aren’t boiling hot, merely warm. They can be quite stinky though, and gas bursts can range from a quiet “blurp” to a noisy eruption.

The salt content of Davis-Schrimpf Seep Field mud is so high that when it dries on the ground it forms a white crystalline top layer. When visitors walk across its surface it crunches like hard snow.

A virtual-reality exploration of the site may be seen here.

Know Before You Go

4x4 highly recommended after heavy rainfall. Exercise extreme caution around mud pots. Do not climb mud volcanoes. Not suitable for pets. Supervise children. Accessible via any number of roads in the area. More mud pots are located throughout the Wister Waterfowl Management area. As of May 2018, multiple no trespassing signs have been posted along the road.

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