Eternal flames can be found in several places all over the world. Mount Chimera is just one of them. The scientific community has a separate and more viable explanation for the inextinguishable flames but there’s also another explanation. The second explanation is mythological by nature. Let us learn 20 interesting Mount Chimaera facts and figure out the story and scientific cause associated with the phenomenon.
Interesting Mount Chimaera Facts: 1-10
1. There was a place in ancient Lycia (a geopolitical location in modern day Turkey’s southern coast) known as Mount Chimaera.
2. Lycia in modern day Turkey is known as Yanartaş. Yanartaş displays a very weird phenomenon where several natural gases along with methane is constantly released from rocks.
3. Interestingly enough, not only the gases are released constantly, they also keep burning spontaneously.
4. Fires at Mount Chimaera have been burning for over 2500 years.
5. The fire never dies and burns day and night. Ancient sailors used to use the light from the fire as a lighthouse and avoided collision with rocks.
6. On one hand where science has established the fact that the source of this eternal fire is methane, on the other hand, there is a mythological take it. Some people like to associate it with a Greek mythological creature know as Chimera.
7. The creature Chimera was a fierce looking monster. It had 3 heads. One was that of a lioness, the other one was a goat head on the middle of its back and its tail was actually a serpent tail with head of a serpent on the tail tip. Well, some images depict the tail with three serpent heads.
8. Not only was the look of the Chimera intimidating enough but it was also supposed to be a fire-breathing monster.
9. In Greek mythology, the Chimera was a very dangerous foe in battle. Not only did it possess the head of a lioness but also had the strength and speed of a lioness. It could actually rip apart its enemies. It was an incredibly fast runner and could easily outrun humans.
10. If that wasn’t just enough, the Chimera was also capable of launching long and short distance attacks with fiery breath.
Interesting Mount Chimaera Facts: 11-20
11. The fiery breath was extremely hot and could easily melt armors and weapons of the enemy soldiers, making Chimera a deadly adversary in war.
12. The Chimera was eventually put to death by a Greek hero named Bellerophon from air with the help of the mythical flying horse Pegasus.
13. It is being said that Chimera was actually born in Mount Chimaera and after it was slayed by Bellerophon, the fire tongue fell there and continues to burn eternally because the creature was supposed to be indestructible.
14. Far from mythology, science has figured out some interesting facts about Mount Chimaera. For instance, the fires actually burn over an area of 5000 square meters.
15. The fires can be temporarily extinguished by covering the vents but once the covers are removed, they start burning again.
16. The fire become more vigorous during the winter months.
17. This typically happens because of gas flux modulation due to pressure build-up, which in turn is caused by atmospheric pressure changes and groundwater recharge.
18.The gases coming out from the vents in Mount Chimaera is composed of 87% methane, 7.5 to 11% hydrogen, 2 to 4.9% nitrogen, 0.57% alkanes, 0.01 to 0.07% carbon dioxide and 80ppmv of helium.
19. The problem is that methane requires pretty high temperature but unfortunately, the rocks at Mount Chimaera do not have that high temperature.
20. The rocks actually have ruthenium (a chemical element with atomic number 44) which acts as a catalyst and aids the formation of methane even at temperatures below 100 degrees Celsius.