|Elevation||520 m (1,710 ft)|
|Prominence||120 m (390 ft)|
|Topo map||Murrurundi 9034 (1:100000)|
Murrurundi 90324N (1:25000)
|Easiest route||walking track|
Burning Mountain, the common name for Mount Wingen, is a hill near Wingen, New South Wales, Australia, approximately 224 km (139 mi) north of Sydney just off the New England Highway. It takes its name from a smouldering coal seam running underground through the sandstone. Burning Mountain is contained within the Burning Mountain Nature Reserve, which is administered by the NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS).
A trail with information panels runs from the parking lots to the site where smoke emanates from the ground.
The Aborigines named the mountain Wingen, which means 'fire'. Their explanation of the origin of the burning mountain was that one day, a tribesman was lighting a fire on the mountainside when he was carried off deep into the earth by The Evil One. Unable to escape, he used his fire stick to set the mountain alight, so that the smoke might warn others to keep away.
Coal seam fire
The underground fire is estimated to be at a depth of around 30 m (100 ft). It is estimated that the fire has burned for approximately 6,000 years and is the oldest known coal fire.
European explorers and settlers to the area believed the smoke, coming from the ground, was volcanic in origin. It was not until 1829 that geologist Reverend C. P. N. Wilton identified it as a coal seam fire.
The fire is generally moving in a southerly direction at a rate of about 1 m (3 ft) per year. The combustion has caused soil discolouration and an uneven ground surface in the area.
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- Topographic map Murrurundi 90324N
- "Burning Mountain". Geographical Names Register (GNR) of NSW. Geographical Names Board of New South Wales. Retrieved 30 January 2011.
- "Burning Mountain Nature Reserve". Geographical Names Register (GNR) of NSW. Geographical Names Board of New South Wales. Retrieved 30 January 2011.
- "Burning Mountain Nature Reserve". Department of Environment, Climate Change & Water. Retrieved 30 January 2011.
- Stone, Derrick (2012). Walks, Tracks and Trails of New South Wales. Csiro Publishing. p. 115. ISBN 978-0643106925.
- Krajick, Kevin (May 2005). "Fire in the hole". Smithsonian. Smithsonian Institution: 54ff. Retrieved 24 October 2006.