In a park in upstate New York, there’s a flame that never goes out. OK, it almost never goes out. But we’ll still give it credit for being pretty tenacious, because it lives behind a waterfall!
That’s Eternal Flame Falls, and here’s what it’s like to go there:
As you approach the falls, the smell of rotten-egg hits your nose. What you smell is the natural gas that leaks from between the shale layers. The gasses produced during the decomposition of the organics within the rock deposits are under pressure and push out through cracks and loose layers within the rock. One large fissure is located right within Eternal Flame Falls, in a small grotto that protects the gas seepage from the falling water and any wind, enabling it to sustain a flame when lit.
Natural methane leaks like this turn up all over the place; there’s a park in Washington state called Flaming Geyser State Park, which, sadly, isn’t quite as epicly awesome as it sounds:
We advise all parents with unimpressed children to take a page from one Metafilter commenter and tell your kids that these little flames are Mother Nature’s farts ON FIRE.