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The Eternal Flame at Chestnut Ridge Park, N.Y.

Updated on May 13, 2013

The Eternal Flame at Chestnut Ridge Park, N.Y.

The eternal flame at Chestnut Ridge Park
The eternal flame at Chestnut Ridge Park | Source

Arndt Schimmelmann from Indiana University

Arndt Schimmelmann
Arndt Schimmelmann | Source

Implications Behind the Power Source

Scientist Arndt Schimmelmann thinks that we have more shale gas resources than previously thought.

This phenomenon might be worth researching further to gain more understanding on natural gas from shale.

Natural Gas Statistic

About 30% of all methane in the world comes from natural gas sources.

Gas seeps (as we see with eternal flames) trap almost 20 times less heat than methane in the Earth's atmosphere.

The Eternal Flame in Chestnut Ridge Park, N.Y.

Geologists the world over are excited about the Eternal Flame in Chestnut Ridge Park (located in Western N.Y.). That's saying a lot, since rocks are typically a boring subject to everyone else.

It is speculated that Native Americans lit the natural gas up to thousands of years ago to create this rare eternal flame, located behind a waterfall. As if waterfalls were not spectacular enough!

Scientist Arndt Schimmelmann from Indiana University - Bloomington shared that he believes it is "fed by a new type of geological process that hasn't been recorded before in nature. Typically, this type of gas is thought to come from deeply submerged, ancient and extremely hot deposits of shale..."

The Science Behind Most Eternal Flames

The temperatures exerted from the ancient, submerged shale are hot enough to break down the carbon in shale and form even smaller molecules of natural gas resulting from the break down. The natural gas is then lit by a person or event, and the flame continues to burn without explosion.

The Theory Behind the Chestnut Ridge Park Eternal Flame

After observation (and touching), scientists found that the rocks from which the flame comes forth are warm, and not extremely hot. They also believe these rocks are younger than typically found with eternal flames. Arndt Schimmelmann believes that these findings indicate a different geological process feeding the eternal flame in Chestnut Ridge Park, N.Y.

Giuseppe Etiope from National Institute of Geophysics and Volcanology in Italy

Giuseppe Etiope
Giuseppe Etiope | Source


Giuseppe Etiope called the Chestnut Ridge Park eternal flame "the most beautiful in the world."

It May or May Not Last Forever

Eternal flames burn continuously for unknown periods of time. They are ultimately limited by the amount of natural gas seeping from the ground.

Common Causes for Eternal Flames to Start Burning:

  • lightning
  • piezoelectricity (electric current igniting the gas)
  • human activity

A Good Reason to Visit the Eternal Flame in Chestnut Ridge Park

It is unknown how long this eternal flame will burn, but if you are able to see it, it will be the only "natural flame behind a waterfall" that you will ever see.

It is a photo-worthy event, so don't forget your camera, and you might want to bring along the rain boots and an umbrella, because it does get wet around the bases of waterfalls.

Directions from Buffalo, N.Y. to Chestnut Ridge Park, N.Y.

Chestnut Ridge Park (circled in red on map below) is between 16 - 18 miles south of Buffalo, N.Y.

In this particular case the shortest distance route (#1 below) takes above 26 min. to drive from Buffalo. The next (#2) takes about 28 min. to drive from Buffalo. Route #3 below is the quickest in traffic (estimated 24 min.), despite being the longest drive in terms of mileage.

  1. The shortest distance route is if you take U.S. 219 South from Buffalo, N.Y.
  2. The next shortest distance is by taking the NY-5 W (also called the Buffalo Skyway)
  3. The quickest driving route is by taking Interstate 190 South and US-219 South. The estimated driving time is: 24 min. in traffic.

Chestnut Ridge Park, N.Y. on Google Maps

Buffalo N.Y. to Chestnut Ridge Park
Buffalo N.Y. to Chestnut Ridge Park | Source

Documented Source Used for this Hub

© 2013 zeke2100


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    • zeke2100 profile imageAUTHOR


      5 years ago

      Thanks for your helpful suggestion.

    • ThelmaC profile image

      Thelma Raker Coffone 

      5 years ago from Blue Ridge Mountains, USA

      I think the map and directions add a lot to the hub. Also, it will help your hub score by having the additional information.

    • zeke2100 profile imageAUTHOR


      5 years ago

      Thank you for reading. I added a map after reading your suggestion.

    • ThelmaC profile image

      Thelma Raker Coffone 

      5 years ago from Blue Ridge Mountains, USA

      Very interesting hub. I had not heard of this eternal flame before. Just a suggestion: would have been helpful to have a map or more info of where located in New York. Thanks for sharing this hub.


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