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October 4, 2013


It's right beneath our feet, rarely thought about, but it can be quite useful, destructive, or even used in sport. Add water and it takes on a sticky form. -- Lloyd Young ( 42 photos )

Revelers participate in the traditional Bloco da Lama (Mud block) carnival in Parati, Rio de Janeiro State, Brazil, on Feb. 9. The event, which was begun by two men in a playful manner in 1986, has now become a traditional carnival in which participants disguised as primitives with rags, lianas or skulls and bones, dive in the mud. (Victor Moriyama/AFP/Getty Images)

A woman makes her way across a muddy field in Union Jack Wellington boots on the third day of the Glastonbury Festival in Worthy Farm, Somerset on June 24, 2011. (Cathal Mcnaughton/Reuters) #

A wrestler stands on another's back after a fight at a permanent mud wrestling ring at "Sia Ram bhajan samati akhaara", a traditional Indian wrestling training center, on the banks of the river Ganges in Kolkata on Feb. 17. India's government will seek the support of other countries where wrestling is popular to help the sport remain an Olympic discipline, the country's sports minister said on Wednesday. Wrestlers fought friendly matches at the training center on Sunday to support the movement to reinstate wrestling as an Olympic sport, a senior wrestler and trainer said. (Rupak De Chowdhuri/Reuters) #

A racer swims through a ditch of muddy water while running in the 18th annual Volkslauf Mud Run on Sept. 7 at the Naval Construction Battalion Center in Gulfport, Miss. The race was approximately six miles and had obstacle courses, challenges and mud stations throughout. (Amanda Mccoy/Sun Herald via Associated Press) #

Competitors run backward as they pass through a curtain of electric cables during the first Mud Day to be organized in France on a military base in the city of Beynes, France, on Sept. 21. Around 13,000 participants are expected in the event, where competitors have to run a muddy 13 km distance overcoming more than 20 different obstacles. (Etienne Laurent/European Pressphoto Agency) #

Wheat is harvested on a 40 acre farm as a Hasidic Jewish man walks along a dirt road as dust blows through the air in Yuma, Az., on June 24. The wheat grown on the farm will be used to bake Matzo for the Jewish Passover holiday. (Joshua Lott for The New York Times) #

A female farmer's foot is seen covered with mud as she works on a farm in Langfang, Hebei province, about 80 km (50 miles) from Beijing on May 24. Still officially Communist, China has witnessed a growing disparity between the prosperous cities and the impoverished countryside since the early 1990s, while lower-income city residents have been left out of a property boom that enriched many since the housing market debuted in the late 1990s. China has pledged to double household incomes over the coming decade in a bid to close a wealth gap so wide it threatens social stability. Although the proportion of extreme poverty has fallen over recent decades, about 12 percent of the country's 1.3 billion people still live on less than $1.25 per day, according to a 2013 United Nations report. (Kim Kyung-Hoon/Reuters) #

Workers use sacks filled with soil to reinforce a mine in Minna, Niger State on June 23. (Afolabi Sotunde/Reuters) #

Dried up mud from the lake bottom at Lake Arrowhead State Park near Wichita Falls, Tx., on Sept. 4. Severe drought is causing lower levels in lakes and affecting the drinking water in parts of the United States. (Larry W. Smith/European Pressphoto Agency) #

Horses race along the muddy backstretch during an undercard race prior to the 139th running of the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs on May 4 in Louisville, Ky. (Doug Pensinger/Getty Images) #

Canoes lie in oil-slicked mud on the shore of the Bodo creek in Ogoniland near Nigeria's oil hub city of Port Harcourt on Dec. 4, 2012. Thousands of people in Nigeria engage in a practice known locally as 'oil bunkering' - hacking into pipelines to steal crude then refining it or selling it abroad. The practice, which leaves oil spewing from pipelines for miles around, managed to lift around a fifth of Nigeria's two million barrel a day production last year according to the finance ministry. (Akintunde Akinleye/Reuters) #

A bulldozeer clears the area for a flower farm in Entebbe Uganda. Despite loud protests by activists, the trucks dumped dirt into the wetland until the soggy ground where papyrus once stood was firm and clear. The area, deemed to be of international importance under an international convention on wetlands, was destroyed so a private company could expand its rose farm on a bay off the shores of Lake Victoria. (Stephen Wandera/Associated Press) #

A Yemeni man breaks the soil of dry farmland with a donkey-drawn plow as his wife sows wheat seeds near a village on the outskirts of Sana'a, Yemen, on May 13. Reports state that Yemen imports 90 per cent of its wheat due to poor water management and a still undeveloped agricultural sector in this developing country. (Yahya Arhab/European Pressphoto Agency) #

A farmer operates a tractor while tilling soil to grow potatoes in Reghaia area, east of Algiers on April 23. The farmers earn on average $12 a day. (Louafi Larbi/Reuters) #

A toy and a shoe lay in mud inside one of the many homes now declared uninhabitable due to permanent damage at a trailer park in Evans, Colo. The majority of the residents in the trailer park are immigrants who didn't have flood insurance, and because some are not citizens or legal residents, they can't get government help. (Brennan Linsley/Associated Press) #

A man brooms the mud in his flooded garden in Pechea, Romania on Sept. 14. According to Galati ISU spokesman Eugen Chirita 9 people died in the floods and several thousands were evacuated throughout the region from their homes. (Daniel Mihailescu/P/Getty Images) #

A car sits in mud and water in front of Gods Country Cowboy Church in Loveland, Colo., on Sept. 18. As floodwaters recede, cleanup and damage assessment continues after historic flooding. (Chris Schneider/Associated Press) #

Displaced residents immerse themselves in massive mud deposits from the mud volcano in Sidoarjo village, located on Indonesia's eastern Java island on May 29 to dramatize their sufferings during a protest marking the seventh year of the disaster. Experts believe the gas drilling company Lapindo Brantas, controlled by the family of powerful Indonesian tycoon Aburizal Bakrie, was responsible for the disaster that permanently buried 12 villages. Besides the 13,000 families directly affected and covered by the compensation scheme, many thousands of local residents are demanding payment for economic damage. (Juni Kriswanto/AFP/Getty Images) #

A man walks through the mud after floodwaters of the river Danube submerged the village of Fischerdorf near Deggendorf, southern Germany, on June 7. Central Europe's worst floods in over a decade claimed a 12th victim as torrents of muddy water surged down swollen rivers through the Czech Republic and Germany, flooding villages, threatening cities and forcing mass evacuations. (Christof Stache/AFP/Getty Images) #

Iranian tourists walk beside the Shurab waterfall in Savadkuh county in Mazandaran province, Iran, on Sept. 19. Shurab waterfall is a popular tourist attraction containing water and mud believed to have medical purposes. According to the older generation, Russian soldiers used this water and mud as medical purposes during WWII. (Abedin Taherkenareh/European Pressphoto Agency) #

Children from the Eastern Cape village of Qunu play soccer on a makeshift pitch on June 13. Qunu was home to former South African president Nelson Mandela while he was growing up and again when his term as president was complete. Ordinarily the rural South African village of Qunu is a slow-paced blend of livestock, locals on foot and the occasional car winding along the smattering of roads and dirt paths that link humble homesteads. But with Nelson Mandela again in hospital, his beloved village has become a magnet for the world's media, hoping to offer some insight into his life. (Jennifer Bruce/AFP/Getty Images) #

Modified drivers compete during the Port-A-Cool U.S. National Dirt Track Championship at Texas Motor Speedway on Sept. 21 in Fort Worth, Tx. (Sarah Glenn/Getty Images For Texas Motor Speedway) #

Atlanta Braves relief pitcher Scott Downs draws in the dirt behind the mound during a baseball game against the Washington Nationals in Atlanta, on Aug. 18. (John Bazemore/Associated Press) #

Dirt flies as the 450cc riders crowd into the first turn of the race in the Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship in Washougal, Wa., on July 20. (Doug Beghtel/The Oregonian via Associated Press) #

A competitor in the Tough Mudder Obstacle Course Challenge held at the Seneca Hunt Club in Seneca, IL., jumped into the muddy water on May 18. (Stan Grossfeld/The Boston Globe) #

Cowboy Morgan Wilde is thrown to the arena dirt for a no-time in the bareback riding finals of the Walla Walla Fair and Frontier Days PRCA Rodeo on Sept. 1 in Walla Walla, Wash. (Jeff Horner/Walla Walla Union-Bulletin via Associated Press) #

A Tough Mudder Obstacle Course Challenge participant wipes the grime from her eyes after the race held at the Seneca Hunt Club on May 18 in Seneca, IL. (Stan Grossfeld/The Boston Globe) #

Camp counselor Meghan Hutton, 17, gets doused with muddy water during "Mud Games" at Episcopal Day Camp in Bartlett, Tenn., on July 12. (Mark Weber/The Commercial Appeal via Associated Press) #

A man competes during the 10000 Volt obstacle as he competes during the Tough Viking race on Sept. 1 in Stockholm, Sweden. The course of the Tough Viking race consists of 12 kilometers filled with 15 brutal obstacles (barbed wire, mud, ice, water, tunnels, electricity, fire, climbing, etc.) designed by specialists in the Swedish Armed Forces. (Jonathan Nackstrand/AFP/Getty Images) #

An elderly man tries to stand up after falling over in mud after a heavy storm, in the suburb of Chalandri in Athens, Greece, on Feb. 22. A heavy storm of rain and sleet in the greater Athens region created problems with transportation, flooding streets and interrupting sea transport. (Maria Marogianni/European Pressphoto Agency) #

The shoes of French president Francois Hollande are covered with mud as he visits the village of Saint-Beat two days after it was submerged by flash floods, on June 20. Flash floods in southwestern France claimed two elderly victims in the space of 24 hours and forced the inundated grotto at Lourdes to remain closed for a second day, officials said. (Pascal Pavani/AFP/Getty Images) #

A worker stands by pools in a mining waste dump area in Monywa, northwestern Myanmar on Aug. 13. Villagers whose lands were grabbed under the former junta in the copper-rich region use discarded soil from nearby mines, mixed with old aluminum cans, water and acid, to retrieve copper from the waste. Working illegally and with no safety equipment, the villagers expose themselves to health hazards to eke out a meager living. (Ye Aung Thu/AFP/Getty Images) #

A Cambodian boy swings a bundle of rice seedlings to get rid of excess mud as he helps his family planting rice in their paddy during the rainy season at Prey Mou in the outskirts of Phnom Penh, Cambodia, on Sept. 10. (Heng Sinith/Associated Press) #

A Pakistani earthquake survivor mixes mud to rebuild his house in the devastated district of Awaran on Sept. 25. A powerful 6.8-magnitude earthquake hit southwest Pakistan, in a region already devastated by a tremor which left more than 300 people dead and 100,000 homeless less than a week ago. (Banaras Khan/AFP/Getty Images) #

University of South Florida associate professor Christian Wells attempts to cut loose a block of dirt and clay containing skeletal remains on Sept. 2. Wet conditions meant that the team removed the remains encased in dirt so that they can be dried in a laboratory setting and then examined. (Edmund D. Fountain/Tampa Bay Times via Associated Press) #

A male tourist rubbed in mud sits on a chair in the Dead Sea in the West Bank close to Kalya on Sept. 6. The Dead Sea's surface and shores are 422 metres (1,385 ft) below sea level, the lowest elevation on the Earth's surface on dry land. The Dead Sea is 378 m (1,240 ft) deep, the deepest hypersaline lake in the world. It is also one of the world's saltiest bodies of water, with 33.7 per cent salinity. This salinity makes for a harsh environment where animals cannot flourish, hence its name. The mud at the Dead Sea is considered healthy for the skin. (Oliver Weiken/European Pressphoto Agency) #

Local resident Fada Yarga prepares to climb down a ladder at his residence, a traditional mud brick house, in Gao, Mali, on March 11. (Joe Penney/Reuters) #

A Wounded Syrian refugee man makes his way on water and mud, at Zaatari Syrian refugee camp, near the Syrian border in Mafraq, Jordan, on Jan. 8. Syrian refugees in a Jordanian camp attacked aid workers with sticks and stones on Tuesday, frustrated after cold, howling winds swept away their tents and torrential rains flooded muddy streets overnight. Police said seven aid workers were injured. (Mohammad Hannon/Associated Press) #

A view of a mudslide in the village of La Pintada, in the Mexican state of Guerrero on Sept. 21. Rescuers cleared mud from shattered houses on Friday, searching for dozens of people missing after a mudslide flattened their village in southwest Mexico as some of the most destructive storms to hit the country in decades abated. Dozens of homes in La Pintada, about 60 miles (100 km) from the beach resort of Acapulco, were swallowed up by a mudslide touched off by heavy rain and flooding at the weekend that has killed at least 100 people across Mexico and forced thousands of people to abandon their homes. (Tomas Bravo/Reuters) #

A resident stands barefoot in muddy ground near candles lit to offer prayers for the families that were killed after their shanty homes were buried by landslides in Subic, Zambales province on Sept. 24. Monsoon rains pummeled Manila and the nearby provinces of Luzon Island on Monday, triggering flash floods and landslides that killed at least 20 people, officials said. Massive flooding has affected several towns in Zambales province, about 138 kilometres (86 miles) south of Manila, with major roads impassable and low-lying villages submerged underwater. (Romeo Ranoco/Reuters) #

A woman covered in mineral-rich black mud walks on the bank of the Tus lake in Russia's Khakassia region, about 370 km (230 miles) southwest of the Siberian city of Krasnoyarsk on July 18. Russians from different regions annually arrive at the Tus lake rich with curative black and blue mud to live in a camp, bathe in the bitter-salty water and smear themselves with mud, which is a healing remedy, in their opinion. (Ilya Naymushin/Reuters) #

A rose sits in the mud during the 139th running of the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs on May 4 in Louisville, Ky. (Rob Carr/Getty Images) #