Waring: This video contains explicit language.
It seems methane gas bubbling up from a river bed can be set on fire, as the above video demonstrates.
Jeremy Buckingham, a Greens party member of Australia’s New South Wales parliament, uploaded the video to his official Facebook page.
The video shows Buckingham leaning over the edge of a boat and using a gas lighter to ignite the surface of the Condamine River in southwestern Queensland.
Buckingham can be seen jolting back from the sudden ignition of the methane gas. “I was shocked by force of the explosion,” wrote Buckingham in the caption.
After igniting, the fire continues to burn, fueled by the methane bubbles rising from the river bed.
Buckingham wrote in the caption that “gas first started bubbling though the river shortly after the coal seam gas industry took off in the area. Since then the volume of gas bubbling through the river has massively increased and has spread along the river.”
Calling the gas leak “a tragedy,” Buckingham insists that this is “the future of Australia if we do not stop the frackers.”
Australia’s national science agency, the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO), said that the gas leak is not likely to be linked to the local fracking industry.
Speaking with Australia’s edition of The Guardian, Professor Damian Barrett, research director of the onshore gas program at CSIRO, said that naturally occurring fissures in the rock and the close proximity of coal beds to ground’s surface has created an environment for the flammable methane to bubble up to the river’s surface.
“The presence of the industry there has not caused that crack to occur or that fault to occur, it’s been there for aeons,” Barrett noted. “The gas has probably been coming to the surface there for as long as people have been there.”
In response, Buckingham told The Guardian Australia that “it would be the most remarkable coincidence that the very thing that we warned would happen has happened in the middle of a gas field and it’s totally unrelated.”
Since its upload on April 22, the video has gone viral. As of April 25, it has been watch over 3.7 million times, shared by just over 91,000 users, and received 3,500 comments.