Inside the “Gate of Hell”, this gaping hole that has been burning for 50 years in Turkmenistan

— Matyas Rehak /

It’s been more than 50 years, yet the fire inside the “Gateway to Hell” continues to burn tirelessly, despite several attempts to extinguish it. This means in particular that this place has a long history behind it, as well as an explanation for its fire which seems eternal.

A result of human stupidity

Also called the Darvaza Gas Crater, the ” Hell’s Gate is a fiery crater located in the Karakum Desert, Turkmenistan. If we can easily believe that it is a work of nature, we owe in fact the formation of this crater to human stupidity. Indeed, this site did not exist before 1971. In that same year, Soviet scientists suspected that under the ground of this area of ​​the Karakum desert there was a large oil reserve.

To be able to exploit such wealth, Soviet engineers were quick to set up a drilling site on the site. But it wasn’t oil that was in the ground, it was a huge underground cavern of natural gas. When the drill hit the cavern, it caused the ground to collapse and the entire drill rig to fall. The accident also punctured a gas pocket and toxic fumes began to escape at an alarming rate.

Hell's Gate
― Iwanami Photos /

A crater desperately trying to close

To avoid a potential environmental catastrophe, the Soviets decided to set fire to the hole that formed, thinking it would stop burning a few weeks later. Unfortunately, that was far from the case, and more than 50 years later, the fire continues to burn in the “Gateway to Hell”. Note that during this half-century, several attempts to extinguish the fire have been made, but so far none have succeeded. If the authorities of Turkmenistan want to extinguish this fire, it is because it represents a danger for the environment and the health of people.

You should indeed know that despite the dangerous side of this crater inflamed by deadly gas, it is a very popular tourist site. Indeed, people come from all over the world to admire the “Gate of Hell”, and some even camp on this site. It really is an amazing activity, as apart from looking at the crater, there isn’t much to do there. Moreover, in addition to posing a threat to tourists, officials also fear for the health of locals who live in the area.

Hell's Gate
— mbrand85 /

There is also a third reason why the local government is working so hard to put out the fire. And this reason is economic. Indeed, the Darvaza crater has enormous monetary potential, as its enormous reserve of methane can be extracted and exploited for the production of natural gas. Scientists continue to search for a way to extinguish the fire. According to some experts, the only way to put it out would be to detonate a nuclear weapon in it so that the explosion sucks in the oxygen and destroys the openings from which the methane escapes. To go further, here 8 places in the world so dangerous you could die there.

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