Malnaș-Băi 527118, Romania
The mofetta is one of the most important natural and effective medicinal elements of Málnásfürdő (Malnaș-Băi).
For a long time, there was an oral tradition that this place was discovered by shepherds who used to bathe their goats with skin trouble in the Lobogó Baths and noticed its beneficial effects. As far as we know, the former Lobogó was the site of the warm baths’ collecting pool, on which the Hercules frigidarium was later built.
The brochure published by the bathing administration in 1899 in the edition of the Transylvanian Carpathia Society describes an already operating mofetta, which is referred to as “the carbonic acid gas and hydrogen-sulphide air bath (steamer)”. “Used under regular supervision in accordance with health requirements” – says the brochure. “It creates a very pleasant warming sensation throughout the body after a few minutes of stay, which intensifies into perspiration with longer exposure” – wrote a doctor of the baths’ management, Dr. Endre Szabó.
Unfortunately, no one has kept track of the number of mofetta victims here over the past century. There were several, people replied to our question. Mrs. Zsolt Salat read out the late László Zsigmond’s article entitled Embert is öl a hanyagság (Negligence Can Kill), published in the Háromszék daily in 2005, about her father, who was the fifth victim of the outdoor mofetta at the time. According to János Sala, a local resident, the two-part Málnásfürdő, a restored mofetta with a terrace roof made of natural stone, is currently under renovation (2017). Each of the 119 mofettas of Szeklerland, Kovászna (Covasna) has two boreholes of small depth, lined with ceramic tubes. From it, carbonic acid-rich mineral water erupts, and the carbon dioxide released from the water feeds the mofetta, still known as the steamer (gőzlő) by the locals.
The internal fitting-out and arrangement of the building are in progress. A 70 cm high layer of concentrated carbon dioxide gas has accumulated in the mofetta’s twin pools. Based on our data, the gas has a concentration of 89.8% and a natural radioactivity of 267.3 pCi/l. There is also evidence that the subsoil around the mofetta is rich in carbonated mineral waters, as the former Hercules frigidarium was built in the immediate vicinity of the health trail, and its waters were fed into the current leisure centre.
The mineral water that fed the Hercules was so rich in carbon dioxide that, after draining the building’s bathing pool, a large quantity of mofetta gas was left over and used as an “air bath”. The glassed-in ceiling of the indoor frigidarium warmed the air and the mineral water. It was in this building that the nearby moor earth (sapropel) was first used for sludge treatment.
In the centre of Málnásfürdő, a modern treatment facility built with funds from the Borvizek útja (Mineral Water Trail) programme is currently operating as a leisure centre. Its mineral-water pool and sauna are already in operation, and its future therapeutic methods will be complemented by the mofetta, currently under rehabilitation, or the “hydrosulfuric and carbonic gas air bath or carbonic acid gas cave”, as it was called in the Hungarian-language publication Erdélyi gyógyfürdők (Transylvanian Baths), published in Arad in 1928.
Just a few metres from the mofetta is the Bugyogó of Málnás, the Lábáztató (Footbath), or as the old-timers used to call it, the Bivaly-feredő (Buffalo Bath). This is a wet mofetta, which signalled before 1848 that “the subsoil here has mineral water”. The place belonged to the Imreh family of Málnás and was known as Honoráta Imreh’s meadows. This is how the new name of the Lábáztató (Foot Bath) became Semseyné Bugyogója (Mrs Semsey’s Bubbler). The honourable lady lies in the crypt of the Reformed Church in Málnás.
The geological formations around Málnásfürdő harbour carbon dioxide reserves that could be the basis of future balneology.
Medical indication: This mofetta offers symptomatic treatment for cardiovascular problems.
Usage: Approaching the mofetta requires caution; it can be dangerous if used incorrectly. Before entering the dry bath, you should be well rested, and the gas level should be checked. The easiest way to do this is the open flame test: where the flame goes out, you should not bend down anymore. Occasional, single use should not exceed 10 minutes.