Methane gas seeping out of the ground in China, Lighting a cigarette or starting electrical equipment can be hazardous

Dangerous: Methane gas is coming up from the ground in a village in China causing the air to burst into fire

Dangerous: Methane gas is coming up from the ground in a village in China causing the air to burst into fire

Dangerous: Methane gas is coming up from the ground in a village in China causing the air to burst into fire

Dangerous: Methane gas is coming up from the ground in a village in China causing the air to burst into fire

Superstitious locals called in priests at first believing 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 used the gas to create basic underfloor heating systems.

Villagers need to be careful when working in the fields because even a single spark from a metal farming tool striking a stone can cause the air to literally burst into flames

Villagers need to be careful when working in the fields because even a single spark from a metal farming tool striking a stone can cause the air to literally burst into flames

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The gas was discovered less than a year ago when Su Geng, 83, reported to authorities a strange smell coming from her cellar.

She said: ‘They told me after doing a test that there was methane leaking out of the ground. They set fire to the air to prove it to me.’

Villagers need to be careful when working in the fields because even a single spark from a metal farming tool striking a stone can cause the air to literally burst into flames

Villagers need to be careful when working in the fields because even a single spark from a metal farming tool striking a stone can cause the air to literally burst into flames

The phenomenon is so common now that Nanjiawan village in south-west China is known by its nickname ‘Invisible Fire Village’

The phenomenon is so common now that Nanjiawan village in south-west China is known by its nickname ‘Invisible Fire Village’

Some of the more creative villagers dug tunnels under their homes and used the gas to create basic underfloor heating systems

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