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Natural methane flame, Chimera, Turkey

Natural methane flame, Chimera, Turkey

C021/9113

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Credit

MARIA PLATT-EVANS / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY MARIA PLATT-EVANS / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption

Natural methane fire. Flame of burning methane on Mount Chimera near Cirali, Turkey, the largest field of abiogenic methane burning in the world. Also known as Yanartas (Turkish = burning rock) it is the location of many small fires over an area of 5000 square metres that have burned for at least 2500 years. The source of the methane is abiogenic - it results from low temperature oxidation of mafic and ultramafic rocks (serpentinisation) in the underlying geology of the region. This site has been identified with the ancient Greek legend of the chimaera, a fire-breathing composite of a lion, a goat and a snake. A more practical application was its use as an ancient beacon for coastal navigation.

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