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Keywords:

  • mud volcanism;
  • extrusion;
  • fluid venting;
  • convergent margin;
  • diapirism

[1] Mud volcanism and diapirism have puzzled geoscientists for ∼2 centuries. They have been described onshore and offshore in many places on Earth, and although they occur in various tectonic settings, the majority of the features known to date are located in compressional tectonic scenarios. This paper summarizes the main thrusts in mud volcano research as well as the various regions in which mud volcanism has been described. Mud volcanoes show variable geometry (up to tens of kilometers in diameter and several hundred meters in height) and a great diversity regarding the origin of the fluid and solid phases. Gas (predominantly methane), water, and mud may be mobilized at subbottom depth of only a few meters but, in places, can originate from several kilometers depth (with minor crustal or mantle input). The possible contribution of mud extrusion to global budgets, both from quiescent fluid emission and from the extrusive processes themselves, is important. In regions where mud volcanoes are abundant, such as the collision zones between Africa and Eurasia, fluid flux through mud extrusion exceeds the compaction-driven pore fluid expulsion of the accretionary wedge. Also, quiescent degassing of mud volcanoes may contribute significantly to volatile budgets and, hence, to greenhouse climate.