mud volcano in Russia
© Caters News Agency
This mud volcano in Russia is watching. Always watching...

This bizarre piece of land may look like a gigantic eye from the sky - but is in fact an erupting mud volcano.

The rare flare-up recently occurred at the Pugachevsky mud volcano on the east Russian island of Sakhalin.

From above it appears that the centre of the volcano is the pupil, which is surrounded by a muddy brown iris.

mud volcanoes in Russia
© Caters News Agency
Sakhalin photographer Mikhail Mikhailov, who snapped the astonishing shot, said: "I haven't ever seen anything like this before.

"There are quite a lot of mud volcanoes in the world and this one is well-known. But I haven't ever seen it looking like an eye.

"It was a very strong eruption, the mud was getting out from one point and got spread around evenly.

"It created a very beautiful view, looking exactly like an earth eye, especially from a helicopter. It is definitely a rare phenomenon."