Known as one of the seven gates of Hell on Earth, this fire pit has been a cause of mystery to everyone.
There are a few places on Earth that are really creepy. Some of these places feel haunted and the others just feel downright weird. One such place is the Karakum desert in Turkmenistan. Deep in the heart of this hot, expansive desert, there is a fiery hole that has been burning on its own for the last five decades. Known as one of the seven gates of Hell on Earth, this fire pit has been a cause of mystery to everyone, including experts, reports Atlas Obscura.
The fire pit is officially known as the Darvaza gas crater, and its fiery glow can be seen for miles around. The crater was created in 1971 when a Soviet drilling rig accidentally punched into a massive underground natural gas cavern. The drilling rig was set up in order to check how much oil was available in the area but much to their shock, they quickly realized they were not drilling for oil at all. The geologists realized they have set up their drilling machine on top of a large pocket of natural gas that couldn’t support the rig and collapsed.
It caused the surrounding and nearby ground to collapse and the entire drilling rig fell inside it. Since the mishap punctured a pocket of gas, poisonous fumes started leaking at an alarming rate. Additionally, the ripple effect created by the rig opened up multiple craters in the surrounding area and the natural gas leak started increasing even more. Natural gas is mostly made out of methane and it makes hard to breathe since it sucks up oxygen.
The scientists realized that this leak could be potentially dangerous and could end up having huge effects on both people and wildlife of that area. Their fear became true after animals in the desert began to die. They quickly came up with an action plan and decided to burn off the gas that is leaking.
They hoped that the fire will burn for a few days and then will go out on its own, but as we all know, that was not the case. The gas is still burning today and the flames generate a glow that can be seen as far as from miles around Derweze, a village with a population of about 350. The fire pit is situated about 260 kilometers north of Ashgabat, the capital of Turkmenistan.
Back in 2010, Turkmenistan’s president, Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedow went to check out the crater and ordered the place to be closed, but no action has been taken as of now. Instead, the place has become a tourist attraction and also continues to attract unsuspecting wildlife. The Karakum Desert, which covers much of Turkmenistan, lies east of the Caspian Sea. With the Aral Sea located to its north and the Amu Darya river and the Kyzyl Kum Desert lie to the north-east, the area naturally has a rich oil and natural gas deposit.
According to Smithsonian Magazine, the best time to visit the Darvaza gas crater is at night when the fire can be seen from miles away. Tours can be booked from the capital city. As an alternative, there are some companies that offer a much more structured tour for interested tourists.