Beneath a small waterfall in a New York reserve is a simple phenomenon, a small flickering orange-red flame, visible beneath the cascading stream of water.
The Eternal Flame Falls is a small waterfall that frames an ever-flickering flame. It is located in the Shale Creek Preserve, a section of Chestnut Ridge Park in Western New York, USA.
The eternal flame was said to have been lit thousands of years ago by Native Americans and has been kept alight by naturally formed gas. However, the flame is not really ‘eternal’ in the sense, as the burning of the flame is related to the gas density and sometimes it extinguishes or dims out. Trekkers finding it extinguished, have been seen to light it up again.
The New York natural eternal flames, are rare. This is because natural eternal flames can only be kept alight by gas ‘macro seeps’. The flame stays lit throughout because of a ‘macro seep’ that has a high concentration of ethane and propane than any other known natural gas seep.
For years, scientists thought that the eternal flame in New York was kept alight by natural gas produced by ancient, extremely hot rocks. But, researchers discovered that the rocks underneath the Chestnut Ridge County Park are not hot enough to produce this gas. This means a different process is used to keeping the flame burning and they have yet to identify exactly what that process is.