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Underground fire has burned for 6,000 years


Posted on Wednesday, 12 March, 2014 | Comment icon 30 comments

Burning coals. Image Credit: CC BY-SA 2.0 Rueter
A subterranean coal seam fire in Australia has been burning continuously for more than six millennia.
The region is known as 'Burning Mountain', a hill North of Sydney that was first documented by European explorers. Originally believed to be volcanic in nature, the smoke rising from the ground on the hill wasn't recognized as a coal seam fire until 1829.

It isn't clear exactly what sparked the fire in the first place however possibilities include a lighting strike, a forest fire or even aboriginal burning practices.

In some regions coal seam fires are actually quite common, especially in places where coal mining has exposed the seams to heat and oxygen. Often extremely difficult to put out the fires can last for a long time, but 6,000 years is still a record that is unlikely to be broken any time soon.

Source: Gizmodo | Comments (30)

Tags: Underground, Fire

Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #21 Posted by Rob008 on 13 March, 2014, 12:24
There is an underground coal fire still burning in the Pennsylvania mining town of Centralia, now a ghost town. You can read about it here: http://www.roadsidea....com/story/2196
Comment icon #22 Posted by ROGER on 13 March, 2014, 19:23
Well if this was a Sy-Fy T.V. movie the milatary would simply bomb the whole area with nuclear warheads and save the day !
Comment icon #23 Posted by Myles on 13 March, 2014, 21:27
Well if this was a Sy-Fy T.V. movie the milatary would simply bomb the whole area with nuclear warheads and save the day ! Or sudden climate change would freeze everything in a couple hours.
Comment icon #24 Posted by Doug1o29 on 14 March, 2014, 2:28
Good God! It's like an endless cycle. All that can't be good for the environment? The ones burning in Pennsylvania are all less than 100 years old. There was one near Durango, Colorado that burned into the 1960s. The one in Siberia - nobody knows how old it is. Doug
Comment icon #25 Posted by coolguy on 15 March, 2014, 4:22
Six thousand years that's nuts I wonder if it will never burn out
Comment icon #26 Posted by danielost on 15 March, 2014, 16:09
I don't think using water on a coal fire is a good idea. Since mixing waster and coal produces coal oil.
Comment icon #27 Posted by JGirl on 15 March, 2014, 16:48
you bring the hotdogs and i'll bring the potato salad!
Comment icon #28 Posted by Capt Amerika on 19 March, 2014, 15:28
Heated flooring is the best. People in that area can go barefooted and have their feet stay nice and toasty.
Comment icon #29 Posted by J. K. on 19 March, 2014, 16:20
How did they determine the age of the fire?
Comment icon #30 Posted by SolarPlexus on 26 March, 2014, 0:27
What a waste


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