The door to hell: darvaza crater


The Darvaza gas crater, also known as the "Door to Hell" or "Gates of Hell," is a fiery natural gas field collapsed into a cavern in the Karakum Desert of Turkmenistan.

The crater is around 230 feet (70 meters) wide and 98 feet (30 meters) deep, with flames that can reach up to 160 feet (50 meters) high. It has been burning continuously since the 1970s.

There are two main stories about how the crater formed. One story claims that Soviet geologists were drilling for oil in 1971 when they accidentally tapped into a cavern filled with natural gas. The ground collapsed, forming the crater, and the geologists decided to set the gas on fire to prevent it from spreading and poisoning nearby villages. They expected the fire to burn itself out within a few weeks, but it has been going strong ever since.

Another story suggests that the crater may have formed naturally, and that Soviet engineers set it alight in the 1980s to prevent the spread of poisonous gases.

The exact origin of the crater remains unclear, but one thing is for sure: it's a fascinating and otherworldly sight. The crater is a popular tourist destination, and visitors can walk around the rim and peer into the inferno. However, it is important to be aware of the dangers, as the heat and fumes from the crater can be intense.

Here are some additional details about the Darvaza gas crater:

  • Location: The crater is located near the village of Darvaza, in the Ahal Region of Turkmenistan, about 260 kilometers (160 mi) north of the capital, Ashgabat.
  • Size: The crater has a diameter of 60–70 meters (200–230 ft) and a depth of about 30 meters (98 ft).
  • Temperature: The temperature around the crater can reach up to 500 degrees Celsius (932 degrees Fahrenheit).
  • Tourism: The crater is a popular tourist destination, with visitors coming from all over the world to see the fiery spectacle. There are now yurt camps set up near the crater where tourists can stay overnight.
  • Future: The Turkmen government has considered extinguishing the fire, but this has proven to be difficult and expensive. In 2021, President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedow called for proposals to extinguish the fire, but it is unclear if any progress has been made.


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