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Door To Hell ― A Fiery Gas Crater That's Been Burning For Nearly Fifty Years In The Turkmenistan Desert

Door To Hell ― A Fiery Gas Crater That's Been Burning For Nearly Fifty Years In The Turkmenistan Desert

A crater of fire the size of a football field sits in the heart of Turkmenistan's Karakum Desert, where it has been burning for nearly fifty years. Locals have dubbed it the "Door To Hell," but it is officially known as the Darvaza Gas Crater. It is located in the center of the Karakum Desert, about 260 kilometers (160 miles) north of Turkmenistan's capital, Ashgabat. This sinister flame pit was human-made and thought to result from a Soviet-era gas drilling accident, but Turkmenistan has no official record.

The story behind how the crater came into existence has been shrouded in mystery, and there’s no other place like it on Earth.

Scientists do not know when the pit began to exist. According to Turkmen geologist Anatoly Bushmakin, it was discovered in 1971 by a group of Soviet geologists who began drilling in the hope of finding oil.

However, they discovered what they believed to be a large oil field and began drilling. Unfortunately for the scientists, they were drilling on top of a vast natural gas reservoir that could not support their equipment's weight.

The entire camp collapsed into a massive bowl-shaped cavity known as the Darvaza crater. It is enormous, measuring 230 feet across and 65 feet deep, and scientists quickly realized they had a serious problem on their hands. Not only did the collapse cause a ripple effect, causing other craters to form,  but the scientists were soon confronted with a new problem: natural gas escaping from the crater. Natural gas is primarily composed of methane, which, while not toxic, displaces oxygen, making it difficult to breathe.

Geologists decided to set fire to this crater to prevent poisonous gases from being released into the atmosphere. They predicted that the fire would burn for a few days until the flammable gases were depleted, but the crater is still burning today.

Some other theories about the pit contend that the crater was formed in the 1960s due to a mudflow, but the gases were not sparked until the 1980s. However, the beliefs are unconfirmed because there are no official records of either the Soviet or Turkmen versions of the events.

Despite the crater's frightening name and ever-present flames, people continue to trek into the desert to witness the site in all its blazing glory. The country's government hopes it will become a tourist attraction, and the nearby desert has already become a popular spot for wild camping.

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