Sometimes mud is beautiful thing: take the small Salse di Nirano volcanoes in Fiorano Modenese, Emilia-Romagna, for example.
In his book titled “Il Bel Paese. Conversazioni sulle bellezze naturali”, published in the second half of the 1800s, great geologist and patriot Antonio Stoppani described these mud cones: the lunar beauty of this desert land is dotted with pygmy volcanoes that are no taller than seven meters, truncated at the top with “a small crater or lake, from which gaseous bubbles develop incessantly, sometimes with such impetus that the fragile mass of the cone is shaken by convulsive tremors. Each bubble burst into mud, which separates into hundreds of streams and comes down the sides of the cone, creating lumps and inundating the base.”
The Salse di Nirano – the word “salse” bears testimony to the saltiness of the land – are an interesting geological phenomenon: underground deposits of gaseous and liquid hydrocarbons emerge to the surface, modeling the clay and creating small volcanic formations.
They are inside the Natural Reserve of Salse di Tirano: 371 hectares of magmatic wonders.