A fire that burns eternally behind a stream of cascading water – isn’t that something you will like to see with your own eyes? If yes, you need to head over to New York. But, just in case it looks like a far-fetched dream for now, here is a list of 15 interesting Eternal Flame Falls facts that will walk you through this natural wonder.
Interesting Eternal Flame Falls Facts: 1-7
1. The Eternal Flame Falls is actually a waterfall. The reason why it is so named is that nestled right behind the cascading stream of water is an eternally burning flame.
2. It is not really an all-blazing fire ready to devour the entire world. It is a small flame that sit under the rocks right behind the waterfall.
3. The Eternal Flame Falls is located in Shale Creek Preserve, which is actually a section of the popular Chestnut Ridge Park in Erie County of New York.
4. The source of the fire is natural gas seeping out of a small grotto located at the base of the waterfall.
5. The fire keeps burning throughout the year but it can also be put off and re-lit.
6. Unlike the eternal flames of Mount Chimaera whose natural gas source is rich in methane, the natural gas seeping out the grotto at Eternal Flame Falls is rich in propane and ethane.
7. About 35% of the natural gas seeping out of the Eternal Flame Falls grotto is made of up propane and ethane.
Interesting Eternal Flame Falls Facts: 8-15
8. Scientists have figured out that macro seep on top of which the flame burns eternally gives out around 1 kilogram of methane in 24 hours.
9. In case of natural gas seeps, there is usually a geological process involved in which large carbon molecules of deeply submerged ancient shale deposits (shale is a type of rock) are broken down to form natural gas. But for that, the temperature needs to be very high. The required temperature is usually at the boiling point of water or more.
10. In case of Eternal Flame Falls however, the temperature of the rocks are not that high. The rocks are only as warm as a cup of tea.
11. This lock rock temperature has led the scientists to believe that there has to be some kind of catalyst that aids the breaking down of the large carbon molecules without increasing the temperature to the boiling point of water.
12. Geologists from National Institute of Geophysics and Volcanology of Italy and Indiana University Bloomington who studied the Eternal Flame Falls in 2013 found that Rhinestreet Shale located nearly 1,300 feet (or 400 meters) below the surface is the source of the natural gas for the flame.
13. Scientists believe that some kind of tectonic activity cracked open a fault in Rhinestreet Shale and made way for the gas to rise up to the surface.
14. Despite being located at the depth of 1,300 feet below the surface, the Rhinestreet Shale is actually shallower compared to any typical gas-bearing shale.
15. Apart from the macro seep where the fire burns in the Eternal Flame Falls, scientists have also found numerous micro seeps in the area which actually contribute to greenhouse gases in the area.