Darvaza Gas Crater: Door To Hell Burning Continuously Since 1971
Updated: Jan 7, 2022
The Darvaza gas crater is a natural gas field collapsed into a cavern located in Derweze, Turkmenistan. The gas reserve found here is one of the largest in the world. Popularly known as the Door to Hell or Gates of Hell, it is thought to have been burning continuously since 1971.
The name "Door to Hell" was given to the field by the locals, referring to the fire, boiling mud, and orange flames in the large crater. It is in the middle of the Karakum Desert, about 260 kilometres (160 mi) north of Ashgabat, the capital of Turkmenistan.
The crater was featured in an episode of the National Geographic Channel series "Die Trying". According to Turkmen geologist Anatoly Bushmakin, the site was identified by Soviet engineers in 1971. It 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 was buried.
Expecting dangerous releases of poisonous gases from the cavern into nearby towns, the engineers considered it advisable to burn the gas off. It was estimated that the gas would burn out within a few weeks, but it has instead continued to burn for 48 years and is expected to keep on burning.
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