Gulf of Mexico Catches Fire Following Underwater Gas Leak, Sending Social Media Into a Frenzy

Video of a fire in the Gulf of Mexico went viral on Friday night, alarming everyone as it appeared to show the ocean on fire. Pemex, Mexico's state-owned oil company, said the fire was caused by a gas leak in an underwater pipeline off the coast of the Yucatan peninsula. It has since been extinguished, the oil company told Reuters.

The video showed bright flames coming out of the water, reminding many of a volcano. Some called it an "eye of fire" because the blaze was a circle. The video showed a Pemex oil platform nearby. It took over five hours to put out the flame, the company said.

The fire started when the pipeline that connects the platform seen in the videos to the flagship Ku Maloob Zaap oil development began to leak. The oil development is Pemex's largest and is located near the southern rim of the Gulf of Mexico. No injuries were reported and production was not affected by the gas leak. It began at around 5:15 a.m. Friday morning and was extinguished by 10:30 a.m. The cause of the fire is under investigation.

After the video of the incident went viral, Angel Carrizales, head of Mexico's oil safety regulator ASEA, tweeted that there was no oil spill caused by the fire. According to a Pemex incident report, company workers used nitrogen to control the fire. "The turbomachinery of Ku Maloob Zaap's active production facilities were affected by an electrical storm and heavy rains," the report reads, notes Reuters.

Although the fire is out, the images alarmed everyone who saw them. "The ocean is on fire in the Gulf of Mexico after a pipeline ruptured. Good system," one Twitter user wrote. Cthulu began trending, as many compared the scene to the monster created by H.P. Lovecraft. "Unrelated to stocks, this was the ocean lit on fire because a pipe erupted. No oil spills though. Crazy scenery, looking straight out of a movie. Cthulhu," another Twitter user wrote.

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"Having to put out a fire in the middle of the Gulf of Mexico feels just too difficult to believe and yet," another Twitter user commented. "Gulf of Mexico right now, it looks like a Sci-Fi movie," another chimed in.