How 'the Gates of Hell' Emerged in a Soviet Desert
Giant pit has become tourist spot
By Matt Cantor, Newser User
Posted May 25, 2014 8:03 AM CDT
The Darvaza gas crater.   (?)

(Newser) – A fiery pit has been burning in the middle of a Turkmenistan desert for more than four decades, and little has been done to get rid of it. The Darvaza gas crater, nicknamed the "Gates of Hell" or the "Door to Hell," has been on fire since 1971, when scientists were looking for oil fields in the Karakum Desert, then part of the Soviet Union. The spot where they began drilling turned out to be a haven for natural gas—and the site collapsed under the weight of the drilling gear, Smithsonian magazine reports.

Several craters were formed, the biggest of which is 230 feet wide and 65 feet deep, and it was full of methane gas that began killing local animals. So scientists decided to burn the gas away, a common practice when unwanted natural gas is sticking around. They thought it would be gone in a few weeks; now, more than 40 years later, it's still burning, and experts aren't sure how much gas remains. Officials have called for action to stop the flames, to no avail, the Smithsonian notes. The spot, which is visible from miles away, has become a tourist attraction, oilprice.com reports. Visitors can stay in tents and view the site—as well as "huge and largely harmless spiders" that hang out nearby.

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Showing 3 of 31 comments
Brucew56
Jun 3, 2014 7:14 AM CDT
You mean Obumble can't REALLY CONTROL THE CLIMATE? He will be devastated, or laughed at!
djgoodman
May 26, 2014 1:25 PM CDT
If it's been burning for over 40 years, why is it a news story today? Seems more like a biblical reference to 'the Gates of Hell' which have emerged in Russia given the current state of political, religious and world affairs. 40-years ago was when the foundation for the new world we live in today was first being laid so is it referring to the end of this era? "And I say also to you, That you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it." Matthew 16:18 "And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever." Revelation 20:10 "I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End." Revelation 22:13
iq145
May 26, 2014 1:08 PM CDT
i thought they discovered the gateway to Hell was in Iceland...