Go jump into a volcano!
That is exactly what these people are about to do. Why are they wearing swimsuits? Well, because the volcano (a real one, by the way) is filled with hot mud - sort of like the mud pots of Yellowstone.
The Totumo Volcano is located on the Atlantic Coast of Columbia, South America, about half way between Barranquilla and Cartagena de Indias, just off Hwy 90. This small volcano has an elevation of something more than 20 meters (about 66 feet). Hot mud and hot gases rise from deep inside the earth through the volcano's central vent, and people who jump into the mud are greeted with large mud "burps" as they lounge in the hot, dark grey goo. There are also people who work there and will give you a hot mud massage for the very high rate of 50 Columbian Pesos (approximatly 4 cents, US).
Although there is nothing under your feet except a hole leading down into the depths of the earth, it is impossible for a human to sink into the mud, because of its density. All you can do is float on top and enjoy the warm, gooey mix of ancient earth and water coating your entire body.
The mud contains sulphates, phosphates, and magnesium, and the locals believe that it has healing properties for all kinds of ills, curing things like acne, ulceras, reumatism, arthritis, fungi, etc. And besides, it's a great place to get covered with mud and have a great time doing it.
(For the advanced level viewers:)
The chemical composition of the mud is:Water 46.42%
Magnesium 13.11% Sódium chloride 15.0%
For a video of the people in the mud volcano, click here
By the time you come down from the volcano's rim, you will be covered head to toe in mud. If you watched the video, you noticed that there is a lake (actually, it is called the "Totumo Bog") nearby, and that is where you go to wash off. The water is cold, but fresh, and if you are feeling ready for a cool drink and something to eat, local people have set up small booths and shacks around the volcano to serve you some energy-renewing food and drink.
For mote information on the Volkan de Totumo and links to further information and pictures, click here or
here . (You will have to translate this page) or do a search for "Volcan del Totumo".