ARTS + ENTERTAINMENT

What to know about Burning Man mud

Sep 5, 2023, 10:53 PM | Updated: Sep 6, 2023, 6:48 pm

A unicyclist rides past a pyramid on the playa during Burning Man at Black Rock Desert in Nevada, w...

FILE: A unicyclist rides past a pyramid on the playa during Burning Man at Black Rock Desert in Nevada. (Andy Barron, Reno Gazette-Journal)

(Andy Barron, Reno Gazette-Journal)

BLACK ROCK CITY, Nevada — Those who don’t attend music festivals may not have had any reason to wonder about the mud created this weekend by monsoon moisture at the Burning Man Festival in northern Nevada.

But now they might have questions, after seeing all those concert-goers walking around either in shoes caked with layer after layer of tan sediment or, walking around with bare feet in puddles of water and tan sediment.

So let’s address that.

Is the mud at Burning Man toxic?

According to the USU Extension, soil is alkaline if it has a pH value above 7.0. The range extends to 14.0.

 

(United States Geological Survey)

So, the mud under the burner’s feet at the end of Burning Man 2023 had a pH level that is over 7. It was alkaline.

But was it toxic?

Alkaline soil can be toxic. To plants. For humans, it can create “playa foot,” or a chemical burn. The organizers of Burning Man describe this as uncomfortable, but not toxic. 

What may be more dangerous is “playa lung” which is a reflection of poor air quality at the Burning Man festival. One of the naturally occurring aspects of the Black Rock Playa is dust storms and sometimes severe dust storms.

So if it’s not wet and clinging to their feet in the form of mud, the alkaline soil can and does blow around hampering bike chains, staining vehicles, and entering your lungs. 

According to the Reno Gazette-Journal, air quality tests performed during the Burning Man festival in 2017 found “that the air quality at Burning Man during the peak days of the event is atrocious, far exceeding national air quality standards all days during the event and during many of the days leading up to it, when staff, volunteers and artists are on-site.”

That’s why you’ll see festival attendees wearing goggles, masks, and scarves.

FILE: People drum on a percussion junk pile despite a blinding dust storm caused by strong winds at the 15th annual Burning Man festival in the Black Rock Desert near Gerlach, Nevada. (David McNew /Newsmakers)

Other reading: Burning Man organizers lift driving ban after heavy rains left the event smothered in mud

 

 

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Send it to the KSL NewsRadio team here.

Arts + Entertainment

McDonald's new temporary logo is a nod to Japanese graphic novels (manga) as well as anime. (Caitly...

Simone Seikaly

Here’s why the Mcdonald’s logo is upside down on your bag of fries

No, McDonald's has not shipped packaging to the U.S. from other countries by mistake. The upside down logo is legit. For now.

50 minutes ago

taylor swift performing eras tour concert, a new class at weber state focuses on swift...

SAM HERRERA, KSL NEWSRADIO AND MIKE ANDERSON, KSL TV

Weber State University to offer class on Taylor Swift this fall

The Weber State University Taylor Swift class was offered for the first time this spring and filled up quickly.

2 days ago

Salt Lake City’s downtown skyline on Tuesday, Jan. 30, 2024. Jazz owner Ryan Smith continues to d...

Mariah Maynes

Utah Jazz owner hypes potential “sports-centered” downtown Salt Lake

Ryan Smith, the owner of the Utah Jazz, is hyping up the possibility of bringing more professional sports teams to Utah. 

2 days ago

Image of TV remote featuring Netflix button. Netflix may direct customers to stop paying for their ...

Samantha Delouya, CNN

You may lose access to your Netflix account if you’re paying through Apple

The update by Netflix comes after years of pushback from apps in Apples iOS App Store for taking a 30% cut of all in-app purchases.

2 days ago

Kenneth Mitchell, here in 2018, has died....

Megan Thomas, CNN

Kenneth Mitchell, ‘Star Trek’ and ‘Marvel’ actor, dead at 49

A native of Canada, Mitchell acquired more than 50 film and television credits over the course of his acting career. He was diagnosed with ALS in 2019.

4 days ago

kevin and michael bacon performing, they'll stop in utah in June...

Sam Herrera

Kevin Bacon to stop in Utah this summer with Bacon Brothers band

Kevin Bacon and his brother Michael will stop by Utah this June to take part in Lehi's Round-Up concert as the Bacon Brothers band.

6 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Mother and cute toddler child in a little fancy wooden cottage, reading a book, drinking tea and en...

Visit Bear Lake

How to find the best winter lodging in Bear Lake, Utah

Winter lodging in Bear Lake can be more limited than in the summer, but with some careful planning you can easily book your next winter trip.

Happy family in winter clothing at the ski resort, winter time, watching at mountains in front of t...

Visit Bear Lake

Ski more for less: Affordable ski resorts near Bear Lake, Utah

Plan your perfect ski getaway in Bear Lake this winter, with pristine slopes, affordable tickets, and breathtaking scenery.

front of the Butch Cassidy museum with a man in a cowboy hat standing in the doorway...

Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

Looking Back: The History of Bear Lake

The history of Bear Lake is full of fascinating stories. At over 250,000 years old, the lake has seen generations of people visit its shores.

silhouette of a family looking over a lake with a bird in the top corner flying...

Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

8 Fun Activities To Do in Bear Lake Without Getting in the Water

Bear Lake offers plenty of activities for the whole family to enjoy without having to get in the water. Catch 8 of our favorite activities.

Wellsville Mountains in the spring with a pond in the foreground...

Wasatch Property Management

Advantages of Renting Over Owning a Home

Renting allows you to enjoy luxury amenities and low maintenance without the long-term commitment and responsibilities of owning a home.

Clouds over a red rock vista in Hurricane, Utah...

Wasatch Property Management

Why Southern Utah is a Retirement Paradise

Retirement in southern Utah offers plenty of cultural and recreational opportunities. Find out all that this region has to offer.

What to know about Burning Man mud