A Fire in Australia has been Burning for 6,000 Years

Neatorama readers are familiar with Centralia, the town on a Pennsylvania coal seam that’s been burning for 60 years. That’s nothing compared to Burning Mountain in New South Wales, Australia, where an underground fire has been burning for at least 6,000 years! Like Centralia, it is also a burning coal seam, and it’s moving along the seam at a fairly steady rate, which gives away its age.

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The fire is estimated to be about 30 meters deep, and moving south at about a meter per year. The smoldering fire leaves the ground above it warm and kills off vegetation as it moves. The difference it leaves in the forest above is the clue to how long it’s been burning, although it may be more ancient than we know. As the coal burns, it causes shifts and cracks in the earth above it, which let in just enough oxygen to feed the fire.

The area is a nature reserve, and is far enough away from settlements to pose no threat to people. How long will Burning Mountain continue to burn? No one knows. Read about this astonishing natural phenomenon at ScienceAlert. -via Strange Company 

(Images credit: Beruthiel)

Source: neatorama

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