Sunday, 21. December 2014
27. 05. 14. - 16:00
Locals in this village need to be careful when working in the fields because even a single spark from a metal farming implement striking a stone can cause the air to literally burst into flames, as this picture shows.
In fact the phenomenon is so common now that Nanjiawan village in south-west China is known by its nickname as 'Invisible Fire Village'.
The frequent fireballs are caused by methane gas seeping out of the ground and being lit either by unwary people using cigarettes with unfortunate consequences, or sparks from electrical equipment in the few houses that have electricity generators in the village.
Superstitious locals initially called in priests believing that they had been cursed by evil spirits. After that failed to drive away the methane gas explosions, some of the more enterprising villagers dug tunnels under their homes and using the gas to create basic underfloor heating systems.
The gas was discovered less than a year ago when an 83-year-old woman called Su Geng reported to authorities a strange smell emanating from the cellar where she stores sweet potatoes.
She said: "They told me after doing test that was methane leaking out of the ground, and they set fire to the air to prove it to me."
Methane coming out of the ground and burning occurs in many places over the world, and on one hillside on Turkey's Mediterranean coast fires have been burning for thousands of years.
But the locals in China are afraid that the 'Invisible Fire' will one day burn out of control and kill them in their beds.
A police spokesman said: "It doesn't matter how often they are told that it is an explainable natural phenomenon, there are many who view it as a sinister thing and insist that it evil spirits and other hocus pocus is at play.
"In fact the most logical explanation is staring them in the face every day. There is a natural gas mine not far from the village. It's likely that the gas leaks and goes underground to the village, causing the fires there. It is not witchcraft or sorcery but simple natural science."
Ebola's deadly reach impacts Vienna student
Austria has yet to record its first case of Ebola, but the feared virus has already had a severe impact on the lives of Africans living in Vienna.
Grigorij Sokolov Works His Magic At Vienna Konzerthaus
Whilst the world-famous Wizard of Oz played at the Volksoper, there was another Wizard in the Konzerthaus giving his 16th performance in Vienna!
Penelope Cruz To Play The Ice Cream Killer
The memoirs of the woman dubbed the Ice Cream Killer after she shot dead two ex-lovers before hacking the bodies up with a chainsaw and telling neighbours the noise was a new ice cream machine are due to be turned into a blockbuster with Penelope Cruz playing the lead role.
Kid Left In Coma After Beaten By Teacher For Talking
This is the shocking image of a little Chinese girl before and after she was punished by her teacher - for talking in class.
Freezing Rain Causes Chaos In Central Europe
Freezing weather has arrived in Europe with a vengeance with a layer of ice blanketing parts of Austria, Germany and the Czech Republic and causing traffic chaos.
Holey Smoke As Car Disappears Down Sinkhole
Motorist Wei Hsiao found himself in a hole lot of trouble in China when a giant sinkhole opened up on the road beneath him, swallowing his entire car.
Shock Moment Police Helicopter Explodes On Street
This is the moment a police helicopter exploded into a spinning ball of flame in Chile when a fire truck clipped one of its rotors.
More Than Twenty 100,000 GBP Motors Used In Bridal Convoy
A Chinese couple who wanted to have the most expensive wedding convoy possible arranged for a convoy of top of the range cars including a stretch Hummer followed by Lamborghinis, Porsches and other VIP motors.
Riot Police Star In Downs Syndrome Calendar
Spanish riot police have joined forces with Down's syndrome kids to take part in a special calendar for charity.
Chinese Nuclear Winter Smog Leaves Clinics Full
Fresh proof of Chinese scientists' claims that the country's toxic air pollution resembles a nuclear winter are shown by these images that show clinics and hospitals packed with patients suffering with trouble breathing.
The most popular stories –
last 7 days
|UN Security Expert Says One Jihad Poster Girl Is Dead|
|Ebola's deadly reach impacts Vienna student|
|Russian Cops Beat Man To A Pulp In Front Of Children|
|Porsche Driver Crushed After Ploughing Into Lorry|
|Grigorij Sokolov Works His Magic At Vienna Konzerthaus|
Why suffer in silence. Let off steam by letting our readers share your troubles. File your complaints about anything and everything here.
Our ombudsman David Rogers will try and help solve some of the problems from lazy civil servants through to incompetent companies – and at the very least the worst transgressors will end up in our weekly special report.