WATCH: Infrared footage captured by Earthworks shows the release of methane gas from a leak at the Aliso Canyon Underground Storage Field in Los Angeles County.

For more than two months now, a ruptured storage well has poured thousands of tons of gas into the Porter Ranch section of Los Angeles. The Aliso Canyon leak is huge—California’s largest known source of methane emissions at this point—but not compared to another font of wasted gas miles away in Venezuela.

Punta de Mata is home to the world’s largest gas flare, one of the flaming chimneys used to burn off excess natural gas at oil wells and other energy sites. In 2012, it incinerated about 768,000 metric tons of natural gas, almost 10 times the amount given off so far from the Southern California Gas Company’s facility at Aliso Canyon.

Methane, the primary component of natural gas, is 84 times

Unlock this story for free
Create an account to read the full story and get unlimited access to hundreds of Nat Geo articles.

Unlock this story for free

Want the full story? Sign up to keep reading and unlock hundreds of Nat Geo articles for free.
Already have an account?
SIGN IN

Read This Next

What bacteria lurk in your city? Consult the bees.
Is melatonin giving you nightmares?
Why are these orcas killing sharks and removing their livers?

Go Further

Subscriber Exclusive Content

Why are people so dang obsessed with Mars?

How viruses shape our world

The era of greyhound racing in the U.S. is coming to an end

See how people have imagined life on Mars through history

See how NASA’s new Mars rover will explore the red planet

Why are people so dang obsessed with Mars?

How viruses shape our world

The era of greyhound racing in the U.S. is coming to an end

See how people have imagined life on Mars through history

See how NASA’s new Mars rover will explore the red planet

Why are people so dang obsessed with Mars?

How viruses shape our world

The era of greyhound racing in the U.S. is coming to an end

See how people have imagined life on Mars through history

See how NASA’s new Mars rover will explore the red planet