Monday, 17 September 2012

Derweze - the gate to hell

In  Northern Turkmenistan, the middle of the flat Karakum desert there is a big flaming hole in  the ground. Its fires have been burning for more than 40 years and shows no signs of ever exhausting.  Locals have called the place The Gate to Hell and its appearance truly deserves that name. The place is especially impressive during evening and night, when the flames can be seen from afar. So what is this hole? An unusal flat volcano, maybe? No, not really.
Until 20 years ago Turkmenistan was part of the Soviet Union with abundant oil and natural gas resources. So in 1971 Soviet geologists came to the area to drill for gas, however when they started drilling the whole platform collapsed  - it appeared that the natural gas was in a large cavern just below the ground. To avoid the imminent emission of methane and other poisonous gases in the atmosphere the geologists set the gas on fire, expcting it will burn out in a few days. How wrong they were!
The hole has a diameter of around 70 meters (200ft) and is around 40 (120 ft) m deep.

Coordinates: 40° 15′ 9.48″ N, 58° 26′ 21.93″ E
Google Maps
Wikipedia Article
Daily Mail Article

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