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Posted on on May 28th, 2012
by Pincas Jawetz (

South China Sea: Maritime Lanes and Territorial Claims.

An area known by three different names — South China Sea, East Sea and West Philippine Sea — the waters surrounding the Spratly and Paracel Islands are some of the most contested in the world owing largely to the energy reserves believed to lie beneath them.

China, Malaysia, Philippines, Taiwan, Vietnam and Brunei all have claims to this area.

While China has called the area a “core interest” of sovereignty, U.S. Secretary of State Clinton also explained that, “The United States has a national interest in freedom of navigation open access to Asia’s maritime domain.”

Competing claims over territory and energy have become a source of international tension and threaten peaceful passage through this waterway.

For the parties involved, there is little alternative but to arrive at a negotiate settlement, yet therein lies the challenge — China prefers bilateral negotiations while the other economies of Southeast Asia prefer multilateral discussions through ASEAN.

Will resolution be found and how will this conflict unfold in light of the U.S. “strategic pivot” to the region?

Please join:

Patrick Cronin, Senior Advisor and Senior Director of the Asia-Pacific Security Program at the Center for a New American Security (CNAS),

Huang Jing, Professor and Director of Center on Asia and Globalization (CAG) at Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy (LKYSPP), and

Hung Nguyen, Associate Professor of Government and International Politics at the George Mason University Center for Southeast Asian Studies, for a discussion on the tense territorial disputes and maritime conflicts in the South China Sea.

The program will be moderated by Amanda Drury, co-anchor of CNBC’s Street Signs.

4 June 2012
6:30pm – 9:00pm

725 Park Avenue (at 70th Street), New York, NY

This program is sponsored by HBO.

Can’t make it to this program? Tune into at 6:30 pm ET for a free live video webcast. Online viewers are encouraged to submit questions during the webcast.


Posted on on July 19th, 2010
by Pincas Jawetz (

For one thing, see there is a good South African Restaurant in Fort Greene, Brooklyn, and we go there for inspiration and nourishment from time to time.…

Based on the above – we write: Two freedom fighters I most admire, writes Noel Anderson, Professor at Brooklyn College, in the struggle for South African democracy are Oliver Tambo and Nelson Mandela. Law partners and comrades, both men helped to shape the direction of the country, with Mandela leading the struggle from within, while Tambo raised international consciousness and money while exiled abroad. Tambo is no longer with us, but Mandela keeps the best of that struggle alive, becoming the first truly democratically elected President of South Africa after decades of imprisonment, and continuing to serve as a moral symbol for African and world affairs.

Born 92 years ago on July 18th, 1918, into a royal family in the Transkei, Mandela has been at the center of not just South African but global freedom struggles. He was the head of the ANC youth league and became a founding member of Umkhonto we Sizwe (“Spear of the Nation”) the armed wing of the ANC, before being imprisoned for 27 years.

President Obama, in tribute to Mandela’s work, has called on all to engage in community service. (In effect this past weekend everyone of us was called to put aside 82 minutes of his time and dedicate those 82 minutes to the community.  The United Nations has also recognized his birthday as Nelson Mandela International Day by calling on November 10, 2009 to make the !8th of July The International Mandela Day – and this year – the July 18th 2010, was supposed to be The First International Mandela Day. But it fell on a Sunday and that is a no-no for the UN Free Birds that must keep the weekend in New York for free enjoyment – really – what other reason for spending the time in this hot city? So, the UN moved to celebrate the day, this year, on  Thursday night and Friday Morning – 15th and 16th of 2010.

Strange as it sounds, its important to recognize that “Madiba” (his term of endearment), the 92 year old grandfather, still has a revolutionary spirit and still… very much alive. The press tends to talk about him the past tense, as if he is long gone and only his legacy survives. Yes, health concerns has led him to retreat from a once rigorous travel schedule, and his chronological age puts him in the twilight of his life. But Mandela is  mentally very lucid, weighs in on global politics and still advises in the affairs of his philanthropic foundation. Further, despite the controversial painting of Mandela, depicting him as dead and being used for an autopsy by political leaders, he still speaks with leaders on pressing concerns, and remains loyal to those countries that supported the freedom struggle.  Happy Birthday, Madiba!

{Dr. Noel S. Anderson is Associate Professor of Political Science and Education at the City University of New York – Brooklyn College. His work focuses on urban politics, human development and education and comparative issues in public policy – U.S. and South Africa}.


The celebration started on Thursday night 6:30 pm with a series of three talks and the screening of the documentary “MANDELA: Son of Africa, Father of a Nation, in the new ECOSOC Chamber in the UN temporary North Lawn building.

No one from the high flyers of the UN was there – their place taken by fill-ins, but luckily Jonathan Demme the director, and Peter Saraf, the co-producer of the film were there – so the aesthetics of their production could be brought up.

For the UN spoke Margaret Novicki and Nicholas Haysom.

Margaret Novicki was appointed by UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan  as the Director of the United Nations Information Centre in Pretoria, South Africa.  Ms. Novicki, a national of the United States, brings to this post extensive experience in communications, media relations and journalism, much of it acquired in Africa. Prior to Pretoria she worked for the UN in Accra. She chaired the evening. She spoke on behalf  of the UN USG for UNDPI – Mr. Kiyotaka Akasaka.
Why DPI? Why not the Secretary General himself?

Nicholas Haysom, as an attorney of the South African High Court, he litigated in high-profile human rights cases between 1981 and 1993.  He acted as a professional mediator in labour and community conflicts in South Africa between 1985 and 1993, and has advised on civil conflicts in Africa and Asia since 1998. Founding partner and senior lawyer at the human rights law firm of Cheadle Thompson and Haysom Attorneys, and an Associate Professor of Law and Deputy Director at the Centre for Applied Legal Studies at Wits University in South Africa until May 1994, when he was appointed Legal Adviser to President Mandela.

Mr. Haysom was closely involved in the constitutional negotiations leading up to the interim and final Constitutions in South Africa.  He served as Chief Legal Adviser throughout Mr. Mandela’s presidency, and continued to work with Mr. Mandela on his private peace initiatives up to 2002.

Since leaving the office of the President upon Nelson Mandela’s retirement in 1999, Mr. Haysom has been involved in the Burundi Peace Talks as the Chairman of the committee negotiating constitutional issues (1999–2002). He continued to serve on the implementation committee of the Burundi Peace Accord after 2002.

Incoming UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon appointed Professor Nicholas Haysom of South Africa as Director for Political Affairs in his Executive Office, May 16, 2007. Our friend Matthew Russell Lee complained that he is never seen at the UN – but in a careful reading of the article we find there the concept of preventive diplomacy – we wish had more credence at the UN.  “He said there is a resistance to preventive diplomacy among member states, leading to the blocking of reform and regional offices of the Department of Political Affairs — he ascribed the most strenuous opposition to Latin America — and to resistance to the Responsibility to Protect doctrine and Ed Luck’s appointment as special advisor on the topic.” In short – he actually seems to be well ahead of the UN but not really of the UN – where he finds it difficult to execute policy that is factually set by only the Permant Five of the Veto Power.

What we said above was that both speakers for the UN are somehow South Africa based and not UN based.

Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela (Xhosa pronunciation: [xo?li?a?a man?de?la]; born in a Xhosa home in Qunu, Transkei,where his father, the Town Counselor, had 4 wives and the boys lived in a separate home from the parents. Chief Jogintamba saw his potential and sent him to the Clakebury Boarding School. In 1933, at 15, he got involved in the Walter Sisulu led ANC and when he reached 30 years, that is when coincidentally Prime Minister Hendrik Verwoerd’s contribution to Afrikanerdom was to dress up apartheid and make it appear respectable to his followers, and the Mandela & Tambo law-firm took on the anti-apartheid legal defense.

In 1956 Mandela prepared the Freedom Charter and the people declared – “We Stand by Our Leader.” Then in 1960 happened the Sharpeville masacre and the call changed to: “Freedom in Our Time” and Wolfie Kadesh, a white man, was an activist. In 1962 Mandela went underground and George Bizios, also a white man, was his lawyer. Eventually, Mandela was apprehended and was in jail 1961 – 1988. Gowan Mbeki was imprisoned for 25 years. In August 1989 Botha resigns and De Klerk takes over and leeds the negotiations with Mandela. November 1993 both of them get the Nobel Prize. Friday, 10 Dec 1993 was Mandela’s speech in Oslo.…

Fully representative Democratic elections took place on 27 April 1994, and Mandela served as President of South Africa from 1994 to 1999.

Before his presidency, Mandela was an anti-apartheid activist. We saw how he got there from his village roots and we learned about the 27 years he spent as a FREE MAN behind bars – freer in his spirit then his captors that knew that they were the captives in the hands of the true Free World. Yes – those years – post World War II – when the UN was young and small – the World had hope for a future that will be very different from the way history evolved prior to those days. Today we can say that the hope tuned out to be pre-mature and Nelson Mandela who moved with his times forged an image for the World well ahead of his time. But no despair, his personal example moved at Least South Africa to ending its internal conflict even though many other conflicts in the World continue to rage on.

Mandela, son of Africa and Father of the New South Africa, depicted in advertisement as a barefoot young boy in what looks like a general’s coat, armed with a stick, said that his watchwords were TRUTH & FREEDOM.


From the screening event at the UN I hurried down to the Manhattan Village – to TEATROIATI at 64 East 4th Street (between Bowery and 2nd Av,) where Sabrina Lastman of Uruguay was having a showing of her CANDOMBE JAZZ PROJECT – mixture oral tradition AFRO-URUGUAYAN MUSIC with elements of Jazz. I bring this in here because in many ways it was befitting the Mandela event.

In the Mandela documentary we saw much of the peoples culture of the Indigenous Africans of the original South Africa, and somehow it must have been quite similar to what Africans, probably from the Congo region, brought with them to what are now Uruguay and Argentina. The fact that this music has survived, and in effect has now a revival, are signs of its resilience, but also of the influence Mandela’s achievements had world-wide.

The Candombe Jazz Project is a New York City-based ensemble playing Candombe, the Afro Uruguayan music tradition. CJP presents an exciting concert of original compositions by Sabrina Lastman & Beledo, arrangement of oral tradition songs, & songs by renown Uruguayan songwriters.

Candombe Jazz Project includes:
Sabrina Lastman – voice / compositions
Beledo – guitar / keyboard / compositions
Arturo Prendez – candombe drum / percussions
Special guests: Agrupación Lubola Macú


“PEACE IS NOT THE ABSENCE OF CONFLICT – IT IS THE CREATION OF AN ENVIRONMENT WHERE ALL CAN FLOURISH,” Mandela said. He also wanted to see the emancipation of women – not just the races. These are things the UN must write on its flag – does it?


On Friday was the Official Commemorative Ceremony, in the big General Assembly Hall, that started with the usual UN delay at 10:20 am., with many Missions to the UN having one warm body sitting in their row – only South Africa, headed by a Minister, having all six seats, and some more, occupied. This was a Special Plenary, ahead of the regular daily Plenary.

The UN had the event open to outsiders, and that was nice. The problem that there were not many insiders present.

The President of the General Assembly, the former Libyan Foreign Minister Mr. Ali Abdussalam Treki, who is under a Schengen Travel Ban,  was not there, and that was good. Instead was one of his seconds, but the Press kit just goes ahead selling him to the innocents. We do not even know the name of the nice lady that chaired the meeting she defined as an “INFORMAL Meeting” of the GA.

“IT IS IN OUR HANDS TO CREATE A BETTER WORLD” said Mandela – God bless him and save the GA.

That was followed by a video message from the UN Secretary General Mr Ban Ki-moon, who said that Mandela’s greatness came from: “HE FOUGHT HIS OPRESSORS FOR YEARS AND THEN FORGAVE THEM. – HE CONSTANTLY REMINDS US HE IS AN ORDINARY MAN, BUT HE ACHIEVED UNORDINARY THINGS.”


This was followed by The Minister of International Relations and Commonwealth Relations of South Africa, Ms. Maite Nkoana-Mashbane, who said that in October 1994 he helped Free South Africa.

She continued saying that in the next two days – to July 18th, people of the globe will get together to hear the words that inspired us in South Africa. She thanks in the name of President Jacob Zuma for adopting in November 2009 this resolution to have the International Mandela Day started this year. South Africa and the World are fortunate to have had a man as Nelson Mandela. She added that the UN was all the way on “Our” side in our fight against Apartheid. We owe our freedom to the role of this august house. By celebrating Mandela Day we celebrate the best for what the UN was created. UBUNTU – we believ in ourselves for what we are.

Her words were followed by a video, and we saw February 19, 1994 people of all South Africa standing peacefully in line and giving their vote.

The Minister’s presentation was clearly the highlight of the informal ceremonial, that was then followed  {informally?} by one representative from each one of UN’s major group.


This was a sad succession of obligatory diplomatic bows with some sparks of freshness.

Egypt spoke on behalf of the Non-aligned Movement – the enigma of the UN,

The Republic of Congo on behalf of the African States, spoke of the recent World Cup,

Darussalam on behalf of the Asian States, this is the Brunei Darussalam State, that clearly needs still its own liberation,

Belarus on behalf of the East European States, spoke interestingly of a long walk to Freedom,

Saint Lucia on behalf of the Group of Latin & Caribbean States, who in our opinion was the best speech  we called the Mission and asked for the speech. We attach the full speech to the end of our posting. The Afro-Caribbean Ambassador, surely descendant of slaves, H.E. Donatus Keith St Aimee, in obvious heart felt fashion said that “Few persons whose name resonate with approval on all continents – All our efforts at the UN came to essence in his life.”

Belgium on behalf of the Western European and Other States, but was mis-introduced by the Chair as speaking for the EU as temporary President of the EU. The main point was that “Let us remind ourselves that our work is far from complete – our work is for freedom or all.”

The last speaker was for the host country – the USA. who said that Apartheid was twisted and grotesque in its effort to justify oppression. Mandela overthrew apartheid by force of example.





Mr. Chairman, I am honored to speak on behalf of Member states comprising the Group of Latin America and the Caribbean (GRULAC), as we show our respect and admiration for an icon of the ages.

In the annals of recorded history there are few individuals whose names resonate with esteem and are uttered with deference on all continents and in all societies.  There are few lives that are unequivocally admired or unreservedly revered by all races and ethnicities; and there are few persons who in a more emotional sense, are cherished and held dear by such a large segment of humanity. Like all celebrated and remarkable men or women, this person whom we come to honor today is identified internationally with one single name befitting his role in our global society and that name is – MANDELA.

We are here today to honor Nelson Mandela pursuant to the adoption of Resolution A/64/L.13. We are here today to commemorate a man who in a lifetime of dignity has come to represent the very ideal for which we struggle daily in the United Nations. All our words, all our actions, all our individual and collective efforts aim in their sum total to equal what is represented by the life of Nelson Mandela.

Nelson Mandela became an international symbol because of his struggle against oppression generally and apartheid in South Africa in particular. We know his history:

· From the early nineteen forties he was a leader of one of the most significant non-violent movements in history.
· For 27 years he was imprisoned under brutal conditions even as he heard of the death beyond his prison walls, of his brothers and sisters in the struggle against apartheid. How many times he must have wondered when his time would be coming to also face death at the hands of his captors.
· Finally he was released on 11th February, 1990.
· To understand the magnitude of his suffering and indignity of his incarceration, we must comprehend that he entered prison at the age of 45 and left at age 72.

These facts as we know them only scratch the surface of the beauty that is the life of Nelson Mandela. What was it that resulted in Nelson Mandela receiving more than 250 awards over four decades including the 1993 Nobel Peace Prize? It was not his physical incarceration that captured the imagination of people, it was not the brutality of apartheid nor the interest of so many supporters the world over to stop this aberration.

What captured our imagination was that Nelson Mandela’s indomitable spirit, his humanity, his humility and his vast love of his people could not be imprisoned in any way by iron, concrete or barbed wire. He went into prison in 1963 as an unbowed, proud, determined South African fighter and came out in 1990 as an unbowed, proud, determined 20th Century leader and icon.

As Mandela himself put in words:

“I cherish my own freedom dearly, but I care even more for your freedom… I cannot sell my birthright, nor am I am prepared to sell the birthright of the people to be free…”

Mandela turned down freedom at an earlier date because he insisted that it had to be unconditional and as President from 1994 to 1999, he frequently gave priority to reconciliation in order to harness all the resources of South Africa to lift the economic conditions of his people. His spirit of forgiveness, his turning of the other cheek has ensured that South Africa joined as an equal partner in the nations of this world, so that within the past month we have all had the great joy of watching South Africa host the World Cup in splendid and successful fashion.

How important it is that the Member States of the United Nations saw it fitting to adopt a Resolution to commemorate Nelson Mandela International Day, an annual event which the world would observe, now for the first time on the occasion of his 92nd Birthday, and for years to come.

We the Member States of GRULAC, have experienced in similar forms many of the travails experienced by South Africa and personified in the life of Nelson Mandela. Our region has had its own icons, and we remember their considerable contributions to the development of our nations when we pause here to honor the life of Mandela.  For this reason his life, his response to adversity, his humanity, resonates not just in our minds for the success of his mission but in our hearts for the beacon he has become for all peoples suffering repression.

What this man said was merely a punctuation for what he did, and what he did is being recognized today in this august forum so that present and future generations need not wonder as to the path to success in nation building, but merely need to follow the footsteps of this great man.

He truly is an ordinary man who has behaved in an extraordinary way!


Posted on on July 16th, 2010
by Pincas Jawetz (

To UN Women, $100 M Offer by Qatar for HQ, But UNFPA Inks 15 Yr NYC Lease.

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, July 14 — Less than two weeks after the formation of “UN Women,” to consolidate the UN’s agencies working on the issue, one of the agencies has gone forward with a major lease of real estate in Manhattan.

The UN Population Fund, UNFPA, has just reportedly signed a 15 year lease for three floors (131,000 square feet) at 605 Third Avenue in midtown Manhattan.

Meanwhile, multiple sources tell Inner City Press that during the negotiations to form UN Women, Qatar offered $100 million if it the headquarters would be put in Qatar.

But as Inner City Press reported earlier this month, Qatar is one of only three countries which has never sent a female athlete to the Olympic Games, along with Brunei and Saudi Arabia.

So now matter how much money is offered, some ask how could the headquarters of UN Women be in Qatar?

UN’s Ban and Sheikha Mozah bint Nasser Al Missned, $100 M not shown


A Group of 77 source complained, as to UN agency headquarters, that an effect of the European Union’s push to form a UN Environment agency would be to undermine the status of Nairobi, where the current UN Environment Program is headquartered.

But maybe if UNEP stepped out and signed a big long term lease for more Kenyan real estate…


At UN, As Rudd Meets Ban for 50 Minutes, Pasztor Is Present, Job for Climate Change in Air?

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, July 14 — When Kevin Rudd, just ousted as Australia’s prime minister, met late July 14 with UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, there was one attendee rarely as such meetings: Janos Pasztor, the head of the UN’s climate change unit.

This came a day after Inner City Press reported that the UN is being urged by the Obama Administration to give Rudd a climate change job.

Inconveniently, the IPCCC top post was recently awarded to Christina Figueres of Costa Rica. (Pasztor competed for the job, temporarily and partially recusing himself from his past and current job, but lost out.)

Now, while the U.S. wishes the IPCCC post were open, it appears that a new special envoy on global warming post would have to be created. One wonders what Pasztor thinks. Also present in the meeting were Ban’s chief of staff Vijay Nambiar and his deputy, but most senior advisor, Kim Won-soo.

UN’s Ban and Rudd

Prior to meeting Rudd, Ban had an audience with representatives of the Korean Red Cross. They bought a gift, which was waiting by the elevator. Moments before Rudd came in, Ban emerged from his office and began walking to his spot at the table.

Moments later, Pasztor joins

Then he stopped, remembering – he had forgotten to put on his glasses. He went back and got them. Then Rudd entered, then Pasztor. The photos were taken, and the photographers hustled out.

But Rudd did not leave until 6:20 p.m. — 50 minutes later….


Posted on on May 26th, 2010
by Pincas Jawetz (

Credits for the following go to a tip I got from a friend, Bob Larick, at a presentation by Ambassador Federico Alberto Cuello Camilo to the UN University on topics of Environment and Migration on the Hispaniola Island where man made disasters in Haiti augment the fact that a fault goes through the island, and poses a natural danger to both States – Haiti and the Dominican Republic. While we cannot but be defensive when it comes to nature, we must nevertheless make sure we do not compound on those potential disasters. This friend gave me the example of the MUD VOLCANO OF INDONESIA.






Sidoarjo mud vulcano disaster zone – new tourist attraction?

Sidoarjo mud vulcano disaster zone - new tourist attraction?

Sidoarjo mud vulcano / Image via

Mar 29, 2010JAKARTA, INDONESIAN – President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono on Monday visited a disaster zone caused by a massive mud volcano blamed on gas drilling and said it could be turned into a tourist attraction.

The mud has been devouring land and homes in East Java’s Sidoarjo district since May 2006, endangering as many as 100,000 people and causing US$4.9 billion (S$6.86 billion) worth of damage, an Australian expert estimates. It has buried 12 villages, killed 13 people, displaced more than 42,000 and wiped out 800 hectares (1,977 acres) of densely populated farming and industrial land.

In a rare visit to the area, Mr Yudhoyono acknowledged community anger over delayed compensation payments but promised that the disaster would be turned into an opportunity.

‘With good layout and good concepts, we can turn this place into something useful for the community, whether as a geological tourist attraction, fishery or for other public activities,’ he said. ‘If it’s managed well, I have confidence this will be an attractive place and bring good to the local community. We need to think of a long-term solution and development of the district for the interests of the larger community.’

He did not explain whether the proposed geological tourism attraction would perpetuate the official line that the volcano was triggered by a small earthquake at Yogyakarta, 280 kilometres (174 miles) away.

Independent scientists earlier this year unveiled fresh evidence that gas drillers were to blame for the ongoing mudflow which continues to ruin lives. In a paper published by the journal Marine and Petroleum Geology in February, a group led by experts from Britain’s Durham University said a nearby gas drilling operation was almost certainly responsible. The company being fingered for the disaster, Lapindo Brantas, replied in the same journal that the earthquake unleashed the volcano as its gas drillers probed for gas nearby.

Source: AFP


“A mud volcano may be the result of a piercement structure created by a pressurized mud diapir which breaches the Earth’s surface or ocean bottom. Temperatures may be as low as the freezing point of ejected materials, particularly when venting is associated with the creation of hydrocarbon clathrate hydrate deposits.

Mud volcanoes are often associated with petroleum deposits and tectonic subduction zones and orogenic belts; hydrocarbon gases are often erupted. They are also often associated with lava volcanoes; in the case of such close proximity, mud volcanoes emit incombustible gases including helium, whereas lone mud volcanoes are more likely to emit methane.

A drilling accident offshore of Brunei in 1979 caused a mud volcano which took 20 relief wells and nearly 30 years to stop the eruption.

Drilling or an earthquake may have resulted in the Sidoarjo mud flow on May 29, 2006, in the Porong subdistrict of East Java, Indonesia. The mud covered about 440 hectares, or 1,087 acres (4.40 km2), and inundated four villages, homes, roads, rice fields, and factories and displaced about 24,000 people, killing 14. The gas exploration company was operated by PT Lapindo Brantas. In 2008, it was termed the world’s largest mud volcano and is beginning to show signs of catastrophic collapse, according to geologists who have been monitoring it and the surrounding area. A catastrophic collapse could sag the vent and surrounding area by up to 150 meters in the next decade. In March 2008, the scientists observed drops of up to 3 meters in one night. Most of the subsidence in the area around the volcano is more gradual, at around 0.1 cm per day. Now named Lusi, the mud volcano appears to be a hydrocarbon/hydrothermal hybrid. Lusi is actually a contraction of Lumpur Sidoarjo, where lumpur is the Indonesian word for “mud””.


In Azerbaijan, eruptions are driven from a deep mud reservoir which is connected to the surface even during dormant periods, when seeping water still shows a deep origin. Seeps have temperatures up to 2–3 °C above the ambient temperature.[1]

Approximately 1,100 mud volcanoes have been identified on land and in shallow water. It has been estimated that well over 10,000 may exist on continental slopes and abyssal plains.


  • Gryphon: steep-sided cone shorter than 3 meters that extrudes mud
  • Mud cone: high cone shorter than 10 meters that extrudes mud and rock fragments
  • Scoria cone: cone formed by heating of mud deposits during fires
  • Salse: water-dominated pools with gas seeps
  • Spring: water-dominated outlets smaller than 0.5 meters
  • Mud shield and many other kinds of features


Hydrate-bearing sediments, which often are associated with mud volcano activity.
Source: USGS, 1996.

Most liquid and solid material is released during eruptions, but various seeps occur during dormant periods.

First order estimates of mud volcano emissions have recently been made (1 Tg = 1 million metric tonnes).

  • 2002: L.I. Dimitrov estimated that 10.2–12.6 Tg/yr of methane is released from onshore and shallow offshore mud volcanoes.
  • 2002: Etiope and Klusman estimated at least 1–2 and as much as 10–20 Tg/yr of methane may be emitted from onshore mud volcanoes.
  • 2003: Etiope, in an estimate based on 120 mud volcanoes: “The emission results to be conservatively between 5 and 9 Tg/yr, that is 3–6% of the natural methane sources officially considered in the atmospheric methane budget. The total geologic source, including MVs (this work), seepage from seafloor (Kvenvolden et al., 2001), microseepage in hydrocarbon-prone areas and geothermal sources (Etiope and Klusman, 2002), would amount to 35–45 Tg/yr.”[2]
  • 2003: analysis by Milkov et al. suggests that the global gas flux may be as high as 33 Tg/yr (15.9 Tg/yr during quiescent periods plus 17.1 Tg/yr during eruptions). Six teragrams per year of greenhouse gases are from onshore and shallow offshore mud volcanoes. Deep-water sources may emit 27 Tg/yr. Total may be 9% of fossil CH4 missing in the modern atmospheric CH4 budget, and 12% in the preindustrial budget.[3]
  • 2003: Alexei Milkov estimated approximately 30.5 Tg/yr of gases (mainly methane and CO2) may escape from mud volcanoes to the atmosphere and the ocean.[4]
  • 2003: Achim J. Kopf estimated 1.97×1011 to 1.23×1014 m³ of methane is released by all mud volcanoes per year, of which 4.66×107 to 3.28×1011 m³ is from surface volcanoes.[5] That converts to 141–88,000 Tg/yr from all mud volcanoes, of which 0.033–235 Tg is from surface volcanoes.


Europe and Asia

Two mud volcanoes on the Taman Peninsula near Taman Stanitsa.

Satellite image of mud volcanoes in Pakistan.

Mud volcanoes are generally few in Europe, but dozens can be found on the Taman Peninsula of Russia and the Kerch Peninsula of southeastern Ukraine. In Italy, they are common in the northern front of the Apennines and in Sicily. Another relatively accessible place where mud volcanoes can be found in Europe are the Berca Mud Volcanoes near Berca in Buz?u County, Romania, close to the Carpathian Mountains.

Many mud volcanoes exist on the shores of the Black Sea and Caspian Sea. Tectonic forces and large sedimentary deposits around the latter have created several fields of mud volcanoes, many of them emitting methane and other hydrocarbons. Features over 200 meters high exist in Azerbaijan, with large eruptions sometimes producing flames of similar scale (see below). Iran and Pakistan also possess mud volcanoes in the Makran range of mountains in the south of the two countries. In fact, the world’s largest and highest volcano is located in Balochistan, Pakistan.[6]

China has a number of mud volcanoes in Xinjiang province. There are also mud volcanoes at the Arakan Coast in Myanmar (Burma). There are two active mud volcanoes in South Taiwan, and several inactive ones.

The island of Baratang, part of the Great Andaman archipelago in the Andaman Islands, Indian Ocean, has several sites of mud volcanic activity. There was a significant eruption event in 2003.

A drilling accident offshore of Brunei in 1979 caused a mud volcano which took 20 relief wells and nearly 30 years to stop the eruption.

Drilling or an earthquake may have resulted in the Sidoarjo mud flow on May 29, 2006, in the Porong subdistrict of East JavaIndonesia. The mud covered about 440 hectares, or 1,087 acres (4.40 km2), and inundated four villages, homes, roads, rice fields, and factories and displaced about 24,000 people, killing 14. The gas exploration company was operated by PT Lapindo Brantas. In 2008, it was termed the world’s largest mud volcano and is beginning to show signs of catastrophic collapse, according to geologists who have been monitoring it and the surrounding area. A catastrophic collapse could sag the vent and surrounding area by up to 150 meters in the next decade. In March 2008, the scientists observed drops of up to 3 meters in one night. Most of the subsidence in the area around the volcano is more gradual, at around 0.1 cm per day. Now named Lusi, the mud volcano appears to be a hydrocarbon/hydrothermal hybrid. Lusi is actually a contraction of Lumpur Sidoarjo, where lumpur is the Indonesian word for “mud”.

In Pakistan there are more than 80 active mud volcanoes, all of them in Baluchistan province; there are about 10 locations having clusters of mud volcanoes. In the west, in Gwadar District, the mud volcanoes are very small and mostly sit in the south of Jabal-e-Mehdi toward Sur Bandar. Many more exist in the north-east of Ormara. The remainder are in Lasbela District and are scattered between south of Gorangatti on Koh Hinglaj to Koh Kuk in the North of Miani Hor in the Hangol Valley. In this region, the heights of mud volcanoes range between 800 to 1550 feet. The most famous is Chandaragup. The biggest crater found is about 450 feet in diameter. Most mud volcanoes in this region are situated in out-of-reach areas having very difficult terrain. Dormant mud volcanoes stand like columns of mud in many other areas.


Azerbaijan and its Caspian coastline are home to nearly 400 mud volcanoes, more than half the total throughout the continents. In 2001, one mud volcano 15 kilometers from Baku made world headlines when it suddenly started ejecting flames 15 meters high.[7]

North and South America

A cold mud pot in N. California, showing the scale of them

Glen Blair, CA, cold Mud Pot

Mud volcanoes of the North American continent include:

Yagrumito Mud Volcano in Monagas, Venezuela (6 km from Maturín)

South American mud volcanoes include:

  • Venezuela. The eastern part of Venezuela contains several mud volcanoes, all of them, as in Trinidad, having an origin related to oil deposits. The image shows the Volcán de lodo de Yagrumito, about 6 km from Maturín, Venezuela. Its mud contains, water, biogenic gas, a certain amount of hydrocarbons and an important quantity of salt. Cows from the savanna often gather around to lick the dried mud for its salt content, which is an integral part of their diet needed to produce milk.
  • Colombia. Volcan El Totumo [1], which marks the division between Bolivar and Atlantico in Colombia. This volcano is approximately 50 feet (15 m) high and can accommodate 10 to 15 people on its crater; many tourists and locals visit this volcano due to the medicinal benefits of the mud; the volcano is located next to a cienaga, or lake. This volcano is currently under a legal fight between the Bolivar and Atlantico Departamentos because of its tourist value.

Yellowstone’s “Mud Volcano”

Yellowstone’s “Mud Volcano” feature (NPS, Peaco, 1998)

The name of Yellowstone National Park‘s “Mud Volcano” feature and the surrounding area is misleading; it consists of hot springs, mud pots and fumaroles, rather than a true mud volcano. Depending upon the precise definition of the term mud volcano, the Yellowstone formation could be considered a hydrothermal mud volcano cluster. The feature is much less active than in its first recorded description, although the area is quite dynamic. Yellowstone is an active geothermal area with a magma chamber near the surface, and active gases are chiefly steam, carbon dioxide, and hydrogen sulfide.[9]

The mud volcano in Yellowstone was previously a mound, until suddenly, it tore itself apart into the formation seen today.[10]


Posted on on April 13th, 2008
by Pincas Jawetz (

Japan wants IMF to monitor sovereign wealth funds.

By SHINYA AJIMA, Monday April 14, 2008 on Japan Times online.

WASHINGTON (Kyodo) – Japan expressed hope Saturday that the International Monetary Fund will play a more active role in monitoring the movements of sovereign wealth funds because such an involvement of the international body would help minimize “protectionism” in countries receiving their investment.

“We recognize the higher presence” of SWFs, or state-backed investment entities, in the global financial market, Japanese Finance Minister Fukushiro Nukaga said in a statement released at a meeting of the International Monetary and Financial Committee, the policy-guiding panel of the IMF.

“I support the IMF’s action to make full use of its experience in monitoring movements in international capital flows, and formulate best practices in the areas of governance, institutional arrangements and transparency,” Nukaga said.

Such efforts would benefit both SWFs and countries which receive their money “by minimizing protectionism in recipient countries,” he said.

His remarks came at the time of increasing influence wielded by SWFs in helping major financial institutions reinforce their capital bases as the global credit turmoil stemming from U.S. subprime mortgage problems has deepened.

The market has increasingly recognized the greater presence of SWFs owned by emerging economies such as China and oil-rich Middle Eastern countries.

Experts, however, says that such SWFs becoming large shareholders in financial institutions in major economic powers could raise concern about the control of the financial industry by those funds and lead to protectionist moves, such as restricting their investment, in those countries.

Japan’s ruling Liberal Democratic Party of Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda launched a project team in February to study whether Tokyo should have its own investment arm using the world’s second-biggest foreign exchange reserves.

BOJ’s new chief meet with Fed, ECB chiefs: New Bank of Japan Governor Masaaki Shirakawa held separate talks with U.S. Federal Reserve Board Chairman Ben Bernanke and European Central Bank President Jean-Claude Trichet in Washington on Saturday, Japanese officials said.

The officials did not reveal the details of the talks held on the sidelines of a series of international financial meetings.

Shirakawa, who assumed the post of BOJ governor Wednesday, is believed to have exchanged views with his counterparts of the U.S. and European central banks on how to tackle the global financial turmoil stemming from the U.S. subprime mortgage crisis. He is also believed to have briefed Bernanke and Trichet about Japan’s monetary policy management.