• We have updated the guidelines regarding posting political content: please see the stickied thread on Website Issues.

The Perpetual Fires Of Mount Chimaera (Yanartaş Area, Turkey)


I knew the job was dangerous when I took it ...
Jul 19, 2004
Out of Bounds
I could have sworn this fire phenomenon had been discussed before, but I can't find any trace of it.

Mount Chimaera is a legendary place in Lycia (modern Turkey) described since ancient times as having fire emerging from the ground.


These flames have long been attributed to methane seeping upward from deep underground. The latest twist is that this methane may be abiotic (i.e., not be the product of organic matter decomposition).

Fire-Breathing Mountain Fueled by Mysterious Deep-Earth Methane Production

Nine out of 10 scientists agree, mountains should not breathe fire. Despite this, a mountain in southern Turkey has been spewing flames steadily for at least 2,000 years.

There be no dragons or magic to blame for the fire belching forth from the so-called Chimaera seep (also known as the Flames of Chimaera) — but, according to an article published in The New York Times, there may be a just-as-baffling geologic phenomenon fueling the flames.

According to a study in the March 2019 issue of the journal Applied Geochemistry, the Flames of Chimaera are fueled by an underground seep of methane (CH4) — but not the garden-variety sort that's produced when organic matter decays underground, mixes with hydrogen and makes Arctic lakes fart fire. [50 Interesting Facts About Earth]

Rather, the gas fueling Turkey's eternal flame is known as abiotic methane, meaning it is produced spontaneously through chemical reactions between rocks and water deep underground — no decaying plant or animal matter necessary. ...

FULL STORY: https://www.livescience.com/65386-abiotic-methane-makes-mountains-breathe-fire.html
Referred to, somewhat-enigmatically within both articles is the term "serpentinization" (maybe everyone knows the term- I didn't. My contextless geo-guess would've been 'the action of river-making'....which would've been totally wrong)


is a processes whereby rock (usually ultramafic) is changed, with the addition of water into the crystal structure of the minerals found within the rock. A common example is the serpentinization of peridotite (or dunite) into serpentinite (the metamorphic equivalent).

I love the (for me) coincidental link between serpents & apparent fire-breathing. But: these articles don't properly-explain the processes to me. At all.

(ps Though I do concede, I'm asleep whilst reading this. Maybe in the morning it'll make more sense to me)
Where there's methane, there is usually oil. It's reinforcing the idea (for me) that the reserves of oil and gas on this planet may be almost limitless.
A bottomless barrel, pretty much.