Since ancient times, water and fire are incompatible, but this sentence does not apply to all situations. Sometimes, water and fire can really coexist harmoniously. In a cave below a waterfall in Chestnut Ridge County, New York, USA, there is a miraculous flame that actually burns under the waterfall, coexists with the water, and has been burning for thousands of years without being extinguished. It is called the “eternal fire”!
The miraculous workmanship of nature has created this spectacle of “compatibility of fire and water”. Now it has become a well-known local scenic spot, and many tourists come here admiringly, vying to take pictures with this strange fire. Looking at the endless mysterious flame under the endless waterfall, people feel extremely curious. So what is the mystery of this millennium fire?
Thousands of years of “waterfall fire”, water and fire are compatible.
In 2021, video bloggers are popular in the online world. Everyone is keen to shoot eye-catching videos and share magical and interesting things in life. Brian, who just graduated from university, is one of them. He is full of confidence in his video account!
Brian has been interested in the strange nature since he was a child, and his favorite thing is to go hunting with his father. My father has a hunting license and goes hunting in the countryside every winter. Under the influence of his ears and eyes, Brian also has a lot of knowledge about hunting. He integrated these hunting knowledge into the video, coupled with animations of muntjac, blue sheep, antelope, roe deer, fox and other animals, which immediately attracted countless fans.
But the good times didn’t last long. It didn’t take long for fans to become fatigued and lose interest in boring hunting videos. Brian’s video number quickly fell from the top of the rankings to the bottom. He was a little discouraged, but it was not his character to admit defeat. Looking at the silent night sky, a shooting star suddenly flashed across, and a fire suddenly ignited in his heart, it was a fire of a waterfall!
It turned out that a few days ago, he saw on a TV travel program that a challenger was about to cross the “eternal flame” in the waterfall in Chestnut Ridge County, New York. It is said that this fire has been burning for thousands of years, and the local people have long regarded it as a god and inviolable, and this place has also become a tourist attraction!
Interestingly, every few years, brave people will enter the waterfall to challenge the fire in the waterfall and experience the taste of “two heavens of ice and fire”. They have to pass through the water of the waterfall first, and then pass through the fire. If they succeed, it will be a strange challenge of ice and fire. If they lose, they will be burned by the fire and even fall to the bottom of the valley. It is said that no one has succeeded so far.
A few days after this show aired, there was news that someone was going to challenge it again. Brian thought, originally his video content was just for novelty, if he went to the waterfall in Liling County in person and did a live broadcast there, the video account would definitely return to glory!
Just do it, Brian carefully searched for the information of “Eternal Flame”. He found it in the most inconspicuous corner of the bookshelf of the local chronicles of the New York Public Library. I saw an ancient hunting picture in the book.
Unexpectedly, the thousand-year-old fire in the waterfall in Liling County was actually related to hunting. It turns out that Liling was the residence of Indians more than a thousand years ago, and they hunted here for generations. At that time, hunting dogs were indispensable companions of hunters.
One day, a poisoned arrow shot at the hound’s owner, but the owner didn’t know it. At the very moment, the hound jumped up, blocked the poisoned arrow with his belly, and protected the owner. When the hunter heard the news, he turned his head and saw the hound that had been hit by the poisoned arrow fall from the top of the mountain to the mountain stream of the waterfall. The hunter was very sad.
But a few days later, in a small cave on the stone platform between the waterfalls, a miraculous flame was born. Not only the strong wind could not extinguish it, but even the water droplets of the waterfall splashed on it, it was still safe and sound. The hunters thought that the hunting dog must be reincarnated into fire to protect them…
Brian closed this ancient book. Although he did not believe that the hunting dog was really reincarnated, he was full of fire in this mysterious waterfall. tribute. So, who exactly would want to take the challenge of traversing it?
With this question in mind, Brian made a preview in the live broadcast room. The fans, like Brian, were full of expectations for this live broadcast. On August 12, 2021, when Brian arrived at the live broadcast, he saw audiences standing outside the waterfall.
At 10 o’clock in the morning, the live crossing “Waterfall Fire” started, and everyone sweated for the challenger. You know, the waterfall in Liling County can be said to be a place of ice and fire.
Outside the waterfall, it was cold, but the flames inside the waterfall were unbearably hot. The previous challengers couldn’t stand the sudden change in temperature, and when they got close to the fire, their clothes were ignited, and they were in unbearable pain. , the heartbeat speeds up, and even falls to the bottom.
After the uproar, under the escort of a team of people, the challenger came! He’s a big, well built man, and he waves to the crowd, and everyone cheers for him!
The challenger walked towards the waterfall for more than ten meters, and then the thrilling scene finally came. The challenger climbed the stone wall, passed the waterfall briskly, and then jumped lightly to stand on the stone platform. The fire instantly burned his clothes red, he was moving slowly, and suddenly staggered forward, Brian’s heart rose to his throat.
When everyone thought that the challenger would fall to the bottom, a miracle happened. His figure swayed in the firelight, but he didn’t fall, but began to move forward slowly. He actually walked around the fire ball with his whole body covered in fire, and finally got out of the waterfall and returned to the flat ground. What was even more incredible was that his clothes were intact and there was no trace of burning.
He actually succeeded! Only then did people discover that he was the 60-year-old Professor Lowell of the University of California. Young people are unable to challenge the success of things, how can he easily complete it?
Concealing the “zombie fire”, overwintering and rekindling
Brian , with such doubts in his admiration, stepped forward to explain to Rowell that he is a blogger of hunting videos, and invited him to his live broadcast room for an interview. Rowell liked to communicate with young people, and he readily agreed.
Brian asked Rowell: “Usually, combustion occurs only after three conditions are met, namely, combustibles, air, and the temperature of combustion, that is, the ignition point. However, in the cave of the waterfall in Liling County , I don’t seem to see any combustibles, so what kind of substance keeps the fire in the waterfall burning?”
Many netizens who watched the video also raised questions one after another. Professor Rowell nodded, and he began to talk. It turns out that for many years, Lowell has been doing in-depth research on the thousand-year-old “eternal fire” in the waterfall in Liling County, but there has been no progress. It was not until a “zombie fire” appeared that the research made a breakthrough.
In 2008, a “zombie fire” occurred in Alaska, USA. This fire scorched more than 33,000 acres of land, equivalent to 38% of the total land area burned by fires in the state that year.
The so-called “zombie fire” refers to the slow smoldering of the peat under the snow, which is maintained by the thin air under the snow. Even if the visible flames on the ground are extinguished, the underground fire that will not be extinguished can continue to burn for a long time .
Sometimes it is impossible to see the fire from the ground, only the smoke from the burning, but after a long winter, when the temperature warms up, the fire will be rekindled, like a zombie coming back from the dead. After research, Rowell found that the cause of the “zombie fire” is closely related to its geographical location, because it is adjacent to the Arctic region, and it is mostly distributed in polar tundra belts with thick peat layers.
Peat, also known as peat, is a kind of soil with high carbon content formed by the slow decay of water-soaked plants, and it is also a kind of coal with the lowest degree of coalification. Peat is between peat and coal. Unlike coal that has been hidden for hundreds of millions of years, peat is generally formed in units of thousands of years and is closer to the surface. Nearly half of the world’s peat is distributed in the Arctic at 60°-70° north latitude circle around. Peat can burn and has a good calorific value. The famous Scotch whiskey mostly uses peat to bake malt. The peat flavor generated by traditional technology is the most breathtaking component of whiskey.
As a combustible material, under the action of high temperature, lightning strikes, dry and flammable plants and other factors, peat may naturally burn. If there is snow and soil covering it, peat will use the gas accumulated in the soil to start slow combustion. model.
This is similar to the process of making charcoal and the way primitive people preserved fire. A large amount of fuel, a small amount of gas, and shallow burial reduce the intensity of the flame, but delay the life of the fire source and hide the trace of the flame.
As the planet warms, carbon-rich soils that were historically frozen are melting, making them more prone to wildfires and potentially releasing large amounts of carbon. This sets in motion a cycle: Arctic peat layers release more carbon, and global warming intensifies, causing more peat layers to melt, which leads to more wildfires.
Based on this phenomenon, Rowell speculated that the millennium fire in the waterfall in Liling County might be caused by peat under the rock formations of the waterfall, which caused the resurrection of the “zombie fire”? He searched a lot of information and found that “zombie fire” is not unique to the United States.
The Yakutia Oymyakon region in Russia is the coldest human-inhabited area on the earth’s surface and is known as the “cold pole”. In the eyes of local residents, when the snow starts to melt, the river remains frozen for at least two weeks.
However, since the end of April 2011, an abnormal phenomenon has appeared in this famous cold polar region. In just one week, more than a dozen wildfires occurred, which are actually “zombie fires”. The largest local fire occurred 20 kilometers south of Oymyakon. The smoke from the “zombie fire” drifted from the snow-covered ground, causing the snow to melt and collapse into pits. And this is the first time a “zombie fire” has appeared here, indicating that the fire situation in the Arctic is changing rapidly, and “zombie fires” will become more frequent.
Peat also has a strong carbon storage function, which is more than other types of vegetation combined. In addition, peat itself is a high concentration of carbon accumulated by plant debris for thousands of years, which makes the fire of peat burn deep into the surface , the greenhouse gases that were locked in the cold and humid air in the Arctic are released.
The main characteristics of “zombie fire” are flameless smoldering and slow speed. However, the ground is almost isolated from the air, how did it burn?
In fact, almost isolated does not mean completely isolated, there is always gas circulating in the tiny cracks in the soil. When the coal under the peatland undergoes an oxidation reaction with oxygen, heat is generated, and the heat in turn accelerates the oxidation reaction, which in turn generates more heat, and when the heat makes the temperature reach the critical point of coal combustion, the coal begins spontaneous combustion.
In peat formations, the flame burns with the coal and there is no visible flame, or there is much or little visible smoke at surface level.
The fire then spreads not only into deeper formations but laterally along a network of pipes within the peat layer, which allows enough oxygen to reach the fire and keep it alive. Even though there is enough oxygen to sustain a fire, the limited supply of oxygen spreads the fire underground or beneath the snow at a slower rate.
Longitudinal, the fire is confined by the water table; laterally, it may continue to burn slowly throughout the peat bed, and at times along the pipe network, a seemingly extinguished fire may re-emerge and under the right conditions Under the influence of fire, new open flames appear on the surface, even far away from the original fire point.
“Zombie fire” is mysterious and unpredictable. People don’t know when it started to burn. When it was discovered, it had been burning for days, months, or even years.
In 2013, on a farm in the Northwest Territories of Canada, the “zombie fire” that had been dormant since winter was rekindled after overwintering. The fire area reached 65 square kilometers, equivalent to 9,000 football fields. Another “zombie fire” in the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska has been burning for more than a year, burning more than 100,000 acres of land in total.
Rowell also discovered a strange phenomenon. The fire caused by this peat without an open flame can be called an “underground purgatory”. Perhaps, the reason why the “eternal flame” is immortal for thousands of years may be related to this.
However, to Rowell’s disappointment, after many surveys, he did not find peat in the underground layer of the thousand-year-old “eternal fire” in the Liling County Waterfall, that is to say, the thousand-year-old peat in the Liling County Waterfall The fire has nothing to do with peat, and his research has once again stalled.
Natural “Fire Waterfall”, a spectacle of light and shadow
In 2014, in order to find out the truth about the “Eternal Fire”, Rowell learned that there is a “Fire Waterfall” on El Capitan in Yosemite National Park, which is the rarest in the park One of the landscapes, he went alone, hoping to find some clues.
On a cloudless day, Lowell came to this park. I saw the 1,099-meter-high El Capitan rise from the ground, the snow on the peak melted, and flowed down the rock wall, forming a seasonal “Fire Waterfall” about 620 meters high, also known as Horsetail Waterfall.
In the afterglow of the setting sun, Rowell stood under the cliff next to the El Capitan, and could hear the sound of the waterfall far away. When he came under the waterfall, he saw a horsetail waterfall that seemed to be “burning” rushing down from a cliff more than 150 meters high. The orange fire illuminated half of the sky, which looked thrilling. Looking from a distance, it looks like a flame burning among the rocks, or like fiery red lava erupting and flowing, and the whole waterfall looks like a golden dragon climbing on the cliff.
Rowell felt the sparks overflowing in front of his eyes, and the golden light shone. Against the background of the night, the surrounding rocks showed a vague gray-black color, which further set off the brightness and brilliance of the fire waterfall, which made people marvel.
Seeing the majesty of the Mawei Waterfall, Rowell was very excited. If the reason for its burning can be found, then the secret of the millennium fire in the waterfall in Liling County will surely be revealed.
However, local experts told him that the “fire” of the waterfall is actually a natural spectacle. What flows in the Horsetail Falls is not the volcanic eruption magma or sparks, but the melting snow on the top of the mountain. When the snow water falls from the cliff hundreds of meters high and meets the afterglow of the setting sun, the combination of light and water ingeniously forms a magical natural spectacle – the fire waterfall. It turns out that the Fire Waterfall is an ingenious combination of “light” and “water”, forming a natural wonder with artistic beauty.
Moreover, the “fire waterfall” does not appear every year. If there is not enough snow and water, the waterfall will disappear if the sun does not shine at a specific angle.
Returning home from Lake Tahoe, although Rowell did not find clues to unravel the millennium fire in the waterfall in Liling County from the mystery of the fire waterfall, the “fire waterfall” formed under the light and shadow has been wandering in front of his eyes , as if to tell him something.
Three conditions must be met to form a “Fire Waterfall”. First, the water volume of this waterfall must be abundant enough, and there must be a large amount of snow water flying down from the cliff. Secondly, the weather must be good enough, the sky is cloudless, and there must be a sun. light exposure. The most important thing is that the fire waterfall can only appear in a certain period of time.
When the sun sets, the shadows of all things are elongated, and the surrounding rocks become gray-black under the dip of the night. It looks like volcanic lava is burning.
A radiant “fire waterfall” appeared in front of Rowell’s eyes again, and his mind suddenly flashed. Since the specific angle and light and shadow can create illusions, if he applies a special developer on his body, won’t it be Can you travel through the “Eternal Flame”? You know, every year there are challengers trying to cross the fire in the waterfall in Liling County, but none of them succeed. In order to make people cherish and love nature more, Professor Lowell decided to use the principle of “fire waterfall” to participate in the challenge!
Therefore, when he passed through the thousand-year-old fireball in the waterfall in Liling County, he first coated a layer of special fire-resistant material on the surface of his clothes, but in order to let others see that he was being burned by fire, he painted another layer layer based on the light and shadow agent developed by the “fire waterfall”, so that he successfully passed through the “eternal fire”.
Looking at the determined and calm Rowell, Brian asked: “Since you have created a miracle and become the first person to cross the double sky of ice and fire! Since you have personally experienced this millennium burning in the waterfall, it will never go out. Can you reveal the secret of the fire to us?”
Professor Rowell said that the fire in the waterfall in Liling County is indeed very miraculous. It stands to reason that fire and water are incompatible. But even in the cold winter, the fire in the waterfall will not be extinguished. Although it’s just a few bits and pieces, it’s amazing enough to be immortal for a thousand years.
After years of observation, the fire in the waterfall has never been extinguished, although it has been growing and shrinking. In the spring, the ice has turned into water, and the flow of the waterfall has increased, but the fire in the waterfall shows no sign of going out. During the dry season of the waterfall, the water in the waterfall is almost gone, but miraculously, the fire source is still there.
If the waterfall is in the wet season, a lot of water will flow straight down, and some water will even be poured directly on the fire, but it is strange that the fire will not be extinguished.
Scientists from all over the world have come here to investigate, and the reason may be because of a small rock chamber under the waterfall. There is extremely hot old rock in this rock formation under the waterfall, which produces the natural gas that keeps the flame burning.
Professor Lowell said: “In fact, there are thousands of eternal flames around the world, many of which are lit for religious purposes or to commemorate deceased famous people. But naturally occurring eternal flames are very rare because the gas and flame It needs to be present in a special environment to ensure that the gas will not burn out or be destroyed, and the flame will not go out. Although so far, it is still not fully understood what is releasing the natural gas, but one day, Scientists will give you a satisfactory answer. In fact, nature is always full of magic, and it is this mystery that has created a legend of ice and fire that will last for thousands of years, and makes our life full of imagination and colorful.”