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According to the definition, mofetta is a discharge of cool (under 100 degrees Celsius) volcanic gasses composed mainly of carbon dioxide. The biggest and best known mofetta in Poland is located in the bottom of the Złocki Streem, between the towns of Jastrzębik and Złocki. Its full and official name is the Professor Henryk Świdziński mofetta, as named after a distinguished Polish geologists. It covers ca. 25 m2, and the gas discharged is assessed to be ca. 10 m3 per minute. It was declared a natural monument. The biggest gas discharge points are Dychawka (literally ‘Panter’, located on dry soil), Bulgotka (lit. ‘Bubbler’) and Zotopione (lit. ‘Drowned’) bubbling away underwater. You can reach the mofetta through comfortable stairs and bridges and read information boards. The reddish yellow colour of the water and the mud comes from a colloidal sediment of iron hydroxides which are the result of a hydrolysis of iron carbonate by iron bacteria. The colour contrasts nicely with the surrounding greenery. Such iron compounds were used in prehistoric times as dyes (ochre), and later as ore for smelting iron. It is interesting to note that according to Lemko legends the gas going out of the ground was the breath of hell. Such alleged involvement with evil powers could be understood as the gas is ca. 95% carbon dioxide, with small amounts of nitrogen and oxygen. The gas is lethal and on days without wind it accumulates close to the ground as it has higher density than air. Because of that you can see a lot of dead insects around. Reportedly there were cases when sheep came to drink water and suffocated. The Złockie mofetta is the largest one in Poland, but there are numerous, smaller ones in the area. Another interesting mofetta can be found in Tylicz.

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