Moon Landing on Earth: The Buzău Mud Volcanoes

Ever wondered what it would be like to walk on the moon? Finding out might be easier than you think, for, in the Romanian county of Buzău, you can do just that - without the weightlessness, though.

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The Muddy Volcanoes in Buzau, Romania.
Hundreds and hundreds of curious visitors have entered the realm of what looks like out-of-this-world scenery at the Muddy Volcanoes in Buzau, Romania. Photo: Carip / stock.adobe.com

It’s been 53 years since the first man walked on the moon. And to this day, it is still mostly impossible, for the commoner at least, to reach the extraterrestrial ground. However, worry not, for there is an alternative to walking on the moon that is cheaper and more down to Earth, too – quite literally.

Out-of-this-world scenery Buzău Mud Volcanoes

We’ve all seen photos of the moon’s surface. If anything, that’s what most of us will see of the moon in our lifetime—that dark, grey rock surface that gives you the chills just by looking at it. You can now experience the same feeling by visiting the mud volcanoes in Buzău, Romania. The geological and botanical reservation was declared a natural monument in 1924. Ever since, hundreds and hundreds of curious visitors have entered the realm of what looks like out-of-this-world scenery.

There are only five places on the European continent where the phenomenon of mud volcanoes can be encountered. Among them, Romania is your best pick. Hidden in the Earth’s continental crust, at about – 3000 meters, gas reservoirs stored underneath the layers erupt and send over to the surface the slimy, muddy clay that covers the entirety of the volcanoes.

Boiling Earth in Buzău

Bubbling from within, these large masses of liquid rock often give the impression that of Earth boiling. Unlike the moon, where the surface temperature reaches circa 120°C, the mud from the volcanoes is cold to the touch. This is because the ooze never reaches the mantle.

There is a downside to this, however. Because it never dries out, access to the reservation is only permitted on dry days. Though, in all fairness, it’s not like you could walk on the moon anytime you wanted, either. It only makes sense – for the sake of your safety and the well-being of the volcanoes. This, however, is highly compensated by the low price you pay to set your foot on the moon: just 4 Lei (a little under 1 euro) for adults, 2 Lei for students, and for your little ones to call themselves astronauts, you would need to pay the out of this world sum of 1 Lei.

A state of constant change

Just like the Universe is constantly expanding, the mud volcanoes are also constantly changing. Gas eruptions are versatile and paint a different scenery over the surface daily. The place never stays the same.

The site is a textbook definition of the badlands encountered in Dakota and Nebraska. Due to the rocky surface, barely any vegetation breaks through the rough conditions. Nitraria Shoberi is one such plant, and it is under special protection. It can be found only in three places worldwide; the Mud Volcanoes in Romania are one of them. And if you wanted to visit the other two? Well, you’d need to travel to Siberia and Australia.

There was no better time to step on the moon. And you don’t need to follow in Neil Armstrong’s footsteps to do so. You can simply follow the map and land a fantastic trip to the terrestrial moon.

Naomi Gherman

Master student in Cultural Diplomacy and International Relations at Babeș-Bolyai University, eager to share more about our world's most fascinating stories and people. Romania-based reader, writer and content creator with a strong interest in journalism, foreign languages and politics.

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