Mysterious Fire in Australia Burning for 6,000 Years

Jay Kakade
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Burning Mountain in Australia
View of Burning Mountain. (Image Credit: Wikipedia)

In a national park of Sydney in Australia, Mysterious Fire has been burning for more than 6,000 years. This fire is also known as 'Burning Mountain' is the oldest known fire on the planet. Scientists estimates the fire may be more ancient than we think.
Burning Mountain located under Mount Wingen, is the coal seam fire - Burning of Outcrop or Burning of in seam coal.

Once this fires are ignited, They are almost impossible to opt-out. They keep on expanding gradually and reaches naturally occurring coal inside the earth's surface. Scientists still don't know the size of fire dwelling under Burning Mountain. Researchers states, It may be diameter of 5 to 10 meters with temperature of 1,000 degrees Celsius.

Scientists believes, Fire of Burning Mountain is not similar to other fires, It's Smoldering i.e. Burning with no flames. It is more likely a Hot red Coal than ordinary coal fire.
This fire is burning 30 meters underground and estimates says spreading at rate of 3.2 ft per year.


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Although the Burning Mountain is open for tourists, The only evidences of existence of fire is smoke and white ash. Ground feels hot when touched and sulfuric smell emitted by heating of minerals by  fire underground.
Though it fire seems to invisible and doubts its existence but the closer investigation has proved existence and impact have been seen on the path taken by fire. This paths devoid flora and extracts smoke in there.

Sign of Burning Mountain
Sign of burning mountain. (Image Credit: Guillermo Rein)

The forest where fire has not reached yet is full of ecosystem, But the place which is acquired by underground fire is nothing but just a blank piece of land. The same impact will be seen in coming days which will adversely affect lifeforms in this forest.

It must be noted that Burning Mountain is not only coal seam fire there are many coal seam fires. Fire below Centralia, Pennsylvania has deserted whole hill which burnt for 60 years. This Hill is now recognised as Silent Hill.
But most of this type of fires are ignited by anthropogenic activities, such as coal mining.

Who Ignited Burning Mountain?

We are unsure about who ignited the fire. It was first reported in European documentation that there is volcano under Mount Wingen. But later studies concluded there is Coal seam fire burning out in here. This study stated fire covers area of four miles and fire is burning since 6,000 years.

There are some ancient stories about the site. Locals exhibit it as sacred land and a widow whose tears have ignited it and a torch of warrior was captured by evil in mount started fire. But the possible source of ignition was possibly natural.
Anthropogenic activity is possibly not a reason of ignition, There may be wildfires or lightning strikes that started it, Researchers says.

But some theories states, Self-Heating may be a reason. Self Heating starts when coal seam is in closer contact with surface coal. And such conditions are favoured by continuous rows of sunny and hot days. Surface of coal becomes so hot that it ignites beneath coal seams. Eventually leading to ignition.

The question 'How Fire Started?' is supplemented by another question 'How Old is it?'. Though it is fascinating to know how it started we are unsure about the time period from which it is spreading.
We conclude it may be 6,000 years old but may be more older than it.

Painting of Burning Mountain 1833-1915
Painting of Burning Mountain 1833-1915. (Image Credit: Wikipedia)

How Long will it Burn?

Again same answer, We still don't know. Scientists are studying how long will it continue to burn. Some says, It will surely burn for next thousand years without any interference of Humans as there is no shortage of oxygen supply.

From where do it gets oxygen supply? Well, As it spreads it heats up mountain and develop cracks. This crack lets oxygen get in contribute to fire. In shorts, Burning Mountain creates its own way to get oxygen and spread. We have tried to stop fire by pouring tons of water but eventually failed.

Though fire is dwelling in Burning Mountain, But it is far away from human settlements to cause injury or harm. Coal seam fires can be devastating and have increased its numbers in recent years.

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FAQ

Which is the longest burning fire on planet?

In Australia, Mysterious Fire has been burning for more than 6,000 years. This fire is also known as 'Burning Mountain', which is the oldest known fire on the planet.



Why fire in Australia haven't stopped yet?

Burning Mountain fire of Mount Wingen in Australia is coal-seam fire or burning of coal. If ignited, it is quite impossible to opt-out.



What is size of Burning Mountain fire in Australia?

Though the cause of the fire is not clear, researchers state diameter of fire is 5 to 10 meters. 30 meters underground with temperature with 1,000 degree Celsius.


Is Burning Mountain Fire spreading?

Yes. Burning Mountain fire is spreading at the rate of 3.2 ft per year. Impact can be seen on trees at transition zone between fire diameter and forest.

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