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“Seems Not of This Planet”

Natural Reserve Macalube of Aragona
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Owner description: 243/5000 From September 27, 2014, the area of mud volcanoes is subject to judicial seizure. In the remaining portion of the Reserve, tourist use is prohibited from July 2015 and only scientific research is permitted. This is a regional natural reserve of Sicily, located 4 km SW of Aragon, and 15 km N of Agrigento. The area of the reserve is characterized by predominantly clay soils, which are dissected by ephemeral streams, fed by seasonal rainfall. The area of greatest interest is the hill of volcanoes, a sterile area of color from white to dark gray, populated by a number of mud volcanoes, about a meter high, where normally the gas escapes slowly mixed with clay and water salata.Il name "Macalube" (or according to some versions "Maccalube") derives from "Maqlub" Arabic which literally means "reversal" because, periodically and in a sudden, the hill of volcanoes exploding due to the escape of violent gas.
Reviewed 25 July 2013

This place is not in most guide books and we wouldn't have even known about it, if our host in Marsala didn't mention it, when we told her we were heading to Agrigento. "You must visit Maccalube then!" She told us what it was, and I wasn't too interested, but my boyfriend seemed excited to see it, so we went. Our GPS must have had out-of-date maps because it led us to a road that stopped being a road, so we ended up walking the last 700 m to the site. Then we saw that there is a new, paved road that leads straight to the entrance. This site was supposed to be a major tourist attraction a few years ago, but the plans fell through and now it's abandoned, unsupervised and free. Because of this, we were the only ones there until another Germany family showed up, so it was nice to have the place almost all to ourselves.

When you come to the site - it seems almost lunar - a mud flat that is affected by volcanic activity that makes the water and clay bubble up to the surface. Because of the extreme heat, the erupted mud quickly turns dry and forms a myriad of tiny clay cones - the mixture of methane and brackish water is discharged and it gives the landscape this lunar appearance.

The main part is a vast field of clay cones, and if you're quiet, you'll keep hearing bubbling sounds everywhere - the erupting mud - some tiny mud volcanoes, some bigger that form a trail of flowing mud down the clay cones. I've never seen anything like it.
Behind the main site there are two small 'lakes' of erupting mud.

I'm glad that we went, even though I was opposed to going at first. It wasn't like anything I've seen before, so if you're the adventurous type that likes discovering new things, I'd recommend Maccalube

2  Thank Travel_Bug81
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Reviewed 12 March 2018
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Reviewed 22 September 2017
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Reviewed 19 September 2016
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Reviewed 18 September 2016
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