Recent strangeness: Huge flames with no known source were discovered shooting out of a hole in the ground in Midway, Arkansas.
A small hole in Arkansas shot flames eight to nine feet high earlier this week and no one seems to know why, THV11 reports. Firefighters responded Monday to reports of the hole and found flames shooting for up for 30 to 45 minutes before the whole thing died down. “I took a temperature reading of it and it showed 780 degrees inside the hole,” says fire chief Donald Tucker. “But what caused it? I have no idea. There’s no gas lines nearby and there was no smell of natural gas.” Officials also dismissed theories that fossil fuels, a lightning strike, or meteor strike ignited the 3.5-foot deep hole in Midway, a town of about 1,000 in northern Arkansas, per the Wichita Eagle.
Flames as high as 8 to 9 feet were shooting from a hole in the ground when a fire chief got to the scene, he told the Springfield News-Leader.
“It burned that way for 30 to 45 minutes before it went out,” fire chief Donald Tucker told the newspaper.
Once the fire burned out, Tucker told the News-Leader that he took a temperature reading — it was 780 degrees inside, he said. The hole was about 3 and a half feet deep.
“But what caused it? I have no idea,” Tucker, chief of the town’s Volunteer Fire Protection District, told the paper. “There’s no gas lines nearby and there was no smell of natural gas.”
He isn’t the only official who has no idea what could have caused a burning hole in the ground.
“I can’t think of any geologic situation that would allow that to happen. Not in this area,” Ty Johnson with the Arkansas Geological Survey told KY3.
“There’s not any fossil fuels, or natural gas or petroleum that occurs in the area.”
Geologists said they don’t think it was a lighting strike, according to the TV station.
And Jim Sierzchula, director of Baxter County’s Office of Emergency Management, told the News-Leader that the cause is still a mystery.
“At this time we don’t have a clue what it is,” he told the newspaper. He thinks it looks like an “existing hole,” and he said it smelt like burnt plastic when he got there.
While the cause is still up in the air — and as conspiracies start to grow on social media — one Baxter County judge has a few possibilities to rule out.
“We don’t believe that the devil showed up, or the meteorites landed, or the big booms happened,” judge Mickey Pendergrass told KY3.
Lightning wouldn’t make a hole that big according to what I’ve ever seen. Wait, I take that back. Here’s a lightning-made hole about that size:
Taipei International Airport (Songshan) was briefly closed on Saturday after its sole runway was hit by lightning, delaying 25 flights, an official said.
The strike, which occurred on Saturday afternoon, left a hole about 0.7m long and 0.5m wide in the runway.
So it seems not impossible, as an ignition source. It may have hit a pocket of old fuel spill from the abandoned gas station.
“There’s no sign of a strike, no splashed dirt around the edge,” he said. “It’s on private property, right off the edge of town.”
Social media conjecture has taken off, with some believing it was flaming space junk that landed at the site. Others believe it had to be a meteorite. …
One clue, perhaps:
“To me, it looks like an existing hole that was there, but what was burning?” he asked. “When I got there it smelled like burned plastic to me.” …
He said there used to be a gas station near the site of the flaming hole, but so far there’s no link to it or to an ignition source.
What burns at a low 780 degrees F? Not any common gas/fuel with adequate oxygen…
Gas / Fuels – Flame temperature
Propane in air – 1980 °C, 3596 °F
Butane in air – 1970 °C, 3578 °F
Acetylene in air – 2550 °C, 4622 °F
Methane (natural gas) in air – 1950 °C, 3542 °F
Hydrogen in air – 2111 °C, 3831 °F
Propane with oxygen – 2800 °C, 5072 °F
Acetylene in oxygen – 3100 °C, 5612 °F
Cyanogen (C2N2) in oxygen – 4525 °C, 8177 °F
Dicyanoacetylene (C4N2) in oxygen (highest flame temperature) – 4982 °C, 9000 °F
Then again, perhaps it could be any of these with the limited oxygen inside a hole. Did no one take a sample from the burned out fireworks or whatever is at the bottom?
I’m glad they ruled out the Devil, of course.