how does a burst gas pipeline catch fire and then continue to burn under water?



how does a burst gas pipeline catch fire and then continue to burn under water?

In: Chemistry

It won’t catch fire underwater, but the gas will bubble to the surface and mix with air. That gas and air mix is flammable, and if it will ignite – possibly explosively – if there is any source of ignition.

If there are enough gas bubbles, then one bubble will keep burning long enough to ignite the next one. There was plenty of gas bubbles in the recent leak to keep it burning.

I suppose you are talking about this:

MEXICO CITY, July 2 (Reuters) – A fire on the ocean surface

It might look underwater from the video, but the news report makes it very clear that it is on the ocean surface.

from u\Gnonthgol

in reply to my post that was deleted by the mods. I thought this was really great.

The fact that it looked like it was burning bellow the ocean was probably an optical illusion. It was burning on the surface where the gas were mixed with air. However a lot of the light generated by the fire went down and was reflected by the gas bubbles coming up. You get a similar illusion from a lamp screen which looks like it is glowing while it is actually the light bulb under it that is making it glow. The boat is quite close to the fire. I am not exactly sure what it is doing, either monitoring the situation or they might have remotely operated vehicles on the ocean floor. In any case they were close enough that the heat from the fire made it unpleasant to be on the ship and might even cause some damage to the ship itself like melting windows or seals. So they sprayed water in front of them to shield them from the worst of the heat from the fire. This is a common firefighting technique to protect people, equipment and buildings from the heat of the fire.

The way they extinguished the fire was to stop the gas leak. They were kind of fortunate that this was a gas pipeline leak and not a gas well leak. The pipeline have a number of valves on it that can be closed to isolate the wells and storage tanks from any section of pipe. So by closing the valves around the leak they were able to stop the supply of gas to this leaking pipeline. However it is possible that some of these valves did not have equipment that could be remotely operated or that this equipment had failed either before the leak or because of the leak. So robots or divers had to go down and manually close these valves which is why it took a few hours to extinguish the fire