'Door to Hell' Still Burning, 42 Years Later

Scientists set it afire in 1971, expecting brief blaze
By Newsy, a Newser Video Partner
Posted Nov 21, 2013 9:15 AM CST

(Newser) – Locals call it the “Door to Hell.” Scientists expected this 230-foot-wide crater to burn out a few hours after the fire was started. That was in 1971. The flames have been blazing for more than 40 years. It all started when a Soviet team of scientists was drilling in search of natural gas reserves in the middle of the desert near Derweze, a village in Turkmenistan, when the rig collapsed. The team was worried the hole might release poisonous methane. So the researchers thought it would be best to light the crater on fire to burn off the gas. They expected this to only take a few days. Not so much.

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