SHOCKING footage shows the moment an enormous fireball burst into the sky after a mystery explosion in the Caspian Sea.
The blast is reportedly being investigated by Azerbaijan’s government, which has for now blamed the towering inferno on a volcanic eruption – but the cause has been disputed.
Dramatic clips and pictures show smoke billowing from the sea after flames shot into the night sky off the coast of Azerbaijan.
There were fears on social media that a rig or tanker had been destroyed in an explosion in the Umid gas field.
But rumours were squashed by Azerbaijan Caspian Shipping Company, who denied a blast had taken place.
A statement said: “There are some people on social networks who link the incident in the Caspian Sea with the explosion of a tanker.
“No explosion occurred on any ship belonging to the Azerbaijani Caspian Shipping Company.”
In an initial statement, the State Oil Company of Azerbaijan Republic (SOCAR) said a mud volcano had erupted.
But this was later edited, and the mention of a “mud volcano” was removed.
SOCAR representative Ibrahim Ahmadov said: “No accidents have occurred on marine platforms and industrial facilities under the direct control of SOCAR, and the work continues in normal mode.
“We will inform the public if there is any additional information.”
Authorities are investigating the cause of blast, which has been put down to an “erupting mud volcano” by the Ministry of Ecology and Natural Resources and the Republican Seismological Service Center.
Gurban Yetirmishli, director of the Republican Seismological Service Center, said: “Volcanoes often erupt in the Caspian Sea. It is a volcano near the Umid gas field.
“The rapid extinguishing of the explosion is also a sign of this.
“There are many volcanoes in the Caspian Sea. A volcanic island formed in the Caspian Sea in 2000. The waves washed it away.
“If there was a gas field, it would take days to put out the fire.”
Azerbaijan’s Oil Workers’ Rights Protection Committee claimed a fire had broken out at the Umid gas field at an old exploration site, but SOCAR denied this.
There has no been official confirmation on what caused the explosion, or whether anyone has been injured.
A minor earthquake was also reportedly recorded in the Beylagan region at around the same time of the explosion.