Lok-Batan Mud Cone

Photo by Roman Bruehwiler.

"Lok-Batan" Mud Cone is part of the Tentative list of Azerbaijan in order to qualify for inclusion in the World Heritage List.

The Lok-Batan Mud Cone is one of the largest and the most active among Azerbaijan’s mud volcanoes. Azerbaijan is the country with the most examples of this geothermal phenomenon of the eruption of mud, water and gases. Lok-Batan stands at 130m above sea level and is located on the Absheron peninsula at the shores of the Caspian Sea.

Map of Lok-Batan Mud Cone

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The coordinates shown for all tentative sites were produced as a community effort. They are not official and may change on inscription.

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Malta - 21-Aug-23 -

Lok-Batan Mud Cone (T) by Clyde

I visited this tWHS on the way to the Gobustan Rock Art WHS. Even though there is no mobile signal around, and there is a police checkpoint just before reaching the site which is quite notorious for bribery scams, currently the site is free of charge, signposted and very easy to get to. So if you have a rental car, the most popular half-day or day trip from Baku including the Gobustan Rock Art WHS and the Lok-Batan mud cone, is not necessary and you'll be able to spend more time at the sites proper plus make sure you're taken to the most active parts of the mud cone.

You'll see that most guides do their best to light a flame on the babbling mud cones. Make sure not to step on the fresh mud and keep a safe distance from the most active cones (the amount of fresh mud oozing out of them should be a clear indicator!). The mud cone or "volcano" erupted in 1977 and again in 2001, producing large flames many meters high in the latter eruption. I had already seen other smaller examples of mud cones in Turkmenistan, and although Azerbaijan claims to have around half of the world's mud volcanoes, their association with oil and gas fields, together with the rather dubious boardwalks and "mud spa centres" currently being built and developed, while trying to artificially control nature, I think don't bode well for any possible future inscription.

It was interesting to find out that the mud cone activity in Azerbaijan started some 25 million years ago, that there are around 140 submarine mud volcanoes in the Caspian Sea, and that 8 islands in the Baku Archipelago originated from mud cone activity, so from a geological point of view the site is at least remarkable. Perhaps, who knows, it would be a worthy extension of the Gobustan Rock Art, converting it into the Gobustan National Park mixed site.

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Full Name
"Lok-Batan" Mud Cone
Natural landscape - Volcanic and thermal
1998 Added to Tentative List

Unesco Website: "Lok-Batan" Mud Cone

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Lok-Batan Mud Cone (T)
WHS 1997-2024