The Gates of Hell is a huge crater 70 meters in diameter and 20 meters deep, whichhas been burning since 1971. It is located near the town of Darvaza, in Turkmenistan, a country in Central Asia that was part of the Soviet Union.
According to France 24, the president of the republic, Gurbangulí Berdimujamédov, has announced that he has launched a scientific commission to extinguish the Gates of Hell, due to the danger it represents for the inhabitants of the area, and the economic losses caused by this fire that has been burning for half a century.
It is the same announcement that he made in 2010, but then they threw in the towel, because they couldn’t find a way to turn it off. In this spectacular video from National Geographic, you can see it up close:
How is it possible that this fire has been burning for 50 years, and they can’t put it out?
The reason is that it is located on a methane gas well, which releases gas slowly, but it is huge, and that is why the fire never goes out. Even if the hole were closed, the gas would continue to burn inside the earth.
The origins ofthe Gates of Hell, whose official name isDarvaza gas crater, go back to 1971, when Turkmenistan still belonged to the Soviet Union.
The Soviets were looking for oil in Darvaza, when the drill sank and fell into an underground cavern. Luckily there were no victims, but the cavern was full of methane gas.
The people in charge of the project decided to burn the gas, thinking that it would be extinguished in a few weeks… and even now.
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Turkmenistan is the fourth country in the world in gas reserves, and the bag that fuels the fire at the Gates of Hell is very large, so it could continue burning for decades.
But, as the country’s president, Gurbangulí Berdimujamédov, has expressed, in addition to posing a danger to the inhabitants of the nearby village, it is an endless drain on the country’s gas reserves. the area.
We must also take into account that it has become one of the main tourist attractions in the country.
Closing such a large crater, 70 meters in diameter and 20 meters deep is complicated. It would be necessary to completely plug the gas bag and put out the fire. The key is pinpointing the exact size of the bag, and where it’s leaking from.
If 50 years of fire and smoke sounds like a lot to you, it’s nothing compared to the Burning Mountain fire in Australia, which has been burning for 6,000 years.