Turkmenistan’s ‘Door To Hell’ Crater Has Been Burning For Fifty Years

Fifty years ago, Soviet geologists went exploring for new oil fields in the Karakum Desert of central Turkmenistan. They unfortunately dug into a natural gas pocket, and the ground collapsed, swallowing their equipment and their hope for new oil.

In a measure to stop the gas leaking, they figured they could burn off the pockets of natural gas, and set the site ablaze.  Well, nature doesn’t always agree to your plan, it seems. The site has been on fire ever since that day in 1971. That’s right, a 50-year fire, coming out of a crater in the ground.

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Dubbed ‘The Door to Hell“, the Darvaza gas crater has now become an unofficial tourist attraction, truly a unique and bizarre spectacle, especially at night, when the circular hole glows orange against the black sky.

Read more on The Smithsonian:

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