Have you ever seen the ocean on fire?
On Friday, July 2, 2021, a fire raged on the surface of the Gulf of Mexico due to a gas leak from an underwater pipeline. Like a sight straight out of a fantasy film, the surreal image of a circular fire pit in the middle of endless blue waves evoked apocalyptic scenes reminiscent of Eye of Sauron from Lord of the Rings. Also known as the “eye of fire,” the dramatic—and terrifying—scene went viral during its more than five-hour blaze.
The underwater pipeline is controlled by Mexican-state-owned petroleum company Pemex, and the fire began at its flagship Ku Maloob Zaap oil development. At this point, it’s unclear what was the cause of the fire, but it’s known that the leak ignited around 5:15 a.m. local time and was put out by 10:30 a.m.
This incident has brought attention to the dangers of oil drilling, for both people and the environment. On Twitter, astonished users tweeted about the devastating phenomenon while amplifying the need for clean energy. “I know this might sound controversial,” EartherManaging Editor Brian Kahn wrote, “but maybe extracting fossil fuels from the seafloor (or anywhere really) is a bad idea.” […]