In the vast expanse of the ever hot Karakum desert near Darvaza, Turkmenistan, is a 230 ft wide and 98ft deep burning crater. This gigantic crater burns with such power and might that it is rightly called ‘The door to Hell’. It also known as ” The Gate to Hell” or as the Turkmen media calls it, “ The shining of Karakum”. Technically, it is known as the Darvaza gas crater.

The Door to Hell is a natural gas field collapsed into a cavern near the village of Darvaza. It is believed that the crater was intentionally ignited by Soviet geologists in 1971 to stop the spread of harmful methane gas.

According to Turkmen geologist Anatoly Bushmakin, the site was discovered in 1971 by Soviet engineers and was originally thought to be a substantial oil field site. The engineers set up a drilling rig and operations to assess the quantity of oil available at the site. Soon after the preliminary survey found a natural gas pocket, the ground beneath the drilling rig and camp collapsed into a wide crater and the rig was buried with no casualties.

Having punctured a hole in the gas pocket, harmful methane gas began leaking out. To stop a possible cataclysmic event, the engineers decided to set the place on fire with hopes that the gas would burn off within weeks_how wrong they were as the the crater still burns down to this day.

Despite this carter’s dreadful outlook, it still draws hundreds of tourists. The 350 people living in the village of Darvaza have also learned to live with it. In April 2010, the President of Turkmenistan, Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedow, visited the site and ordered that the hole should be closed. In 2013, he declared the part of the Karakum Desert with the crater a nature reserve.

Hopefully, this burning crater’s end is near as a commission have been set up with the goal of finding a way to extinguish the fire or find a way for the crater to still burn without causing negative impacts on the nearby environment.

For 50 years and counting, the Door to hell continues to marvel geologists and its visitors.

For more information, you can watch the video below.


6 thoughts on “THE DOOR TO HELL

    1. It does have harmful effects on the environment. You see, this crater leaks huge amounts of CO2 into the environment everyday. Significant amount of methane gas is also being released and this pose a major threat to the people living in the surrounding areas

      Liked by 1 person

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