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Darvaza, The Gas Crater Which Has Been Burning Constantly For 45 Years

The Darvaza Crater was created when the gas field collapsed into an underground cavern.

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Updated:September 13, 2019, 2:50 PM IST
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Darvaza, The Gas Crater Which Has Been Burning Constantly For 45 Years
Image: Instagram/ crooked compass
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Informally known as the ‘Door To Hell’ the giant sinkhole Darvaza is constantly in flames. It lies within the expansive plains of Turkmenistan’s Karakum dessert.

It is a popular tourist site, thanks to its one of a kind nature. It has a 226 ft diameter and is 98 ft deep. The Darvaza Crater was created when the gas field collapsed into an underground cavern.

Records of how it came to be are imprecise, but it is understood that Soviet geologists initially came across the site in 1971. They were searching for natural gas and found so much of it that harvesting it became unsafe. Shortly after they began drilling, the crater collapsed and began emitting harmful and unpleasant gases.

Worried about the effects of the dangerous gas, the Russian geologists set the gas alight to make the area safe. Thereafter, it has been historically, burning for more than four decades, even after scientists expected it to burn out after a few weeks.

In 2010, President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedow ordered that the hole be closed, but that doesn’t seem to have happened.

Canadian adventurer George Kourounis was the first known person to descend into the pit in 2013, and he described it to National Geographic, who partly funded his expedition, as “a coliseum of fire”.

“Just everywhere you look it's thousands of these small fires. The sound was like that of a jet engine, this roaring, high-pressure, gas-burning sound. And there was no smoke. It burns very cleanly, so there's nothing to obscure your view. You can just see every little lick of flame.” he said.

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