DAVID PARKER / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY DAVID PARKER / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Chimera flames. Flames of burning methane on Mount Chimera, near Cirali, Turkey. This is the largest field of abiogenic methane burning in the world. Also known as Yanartas (Turkish for burning rock) it is the location of many small fires over an area of 5000 square meters 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 had 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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