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The Door to Hell ~ Flaming Gas Crater in Darvaza, Turkmenistan (formerly USSR or Russia)

Updated on June 25, 2013

What would the door to hell look like?

If someone were to ask you to describe the door to hell or the gate to hell, how would you accomplish this task? Many people believe that it is more than adequately portrayed in the Karakum desert located in Turkmenistan.

The "Door to Hell"
The "Door to Hell" | Source

Darvaza Gas Crater ~ The Darvaza Burning Gas Crater

Located in the Karakum desert, close to Darvaza, Turkmenistan, is a huge hole (the Door to Hell) that has been burning for a long time. How long? There are mixed reports. Some say it has been burning since the 1950’s; and others indicating that it has been burning for over 200 years; but most agree that the fire started in the early 1970’s.

Turkmenistan has one of the largest gas reservoirs in the world. The Darvaza area is known to be an area rich in natural gas deposits. It is reported that in the early 1970’s, at the aforementioned location which at the time was a part of the USSR, Soviet geologists looking for pockets of natural gas were drilling a hole to extract the gas from a huge underground deposit. While excavating at the site, they unexpectedly encountered a huge underground cavity filled with natural gas. The earth under the drilling platform completely collapsed swallowing the drilling rig in its massive maw. All that remained was an enormous burning hole about 230 feet (70 meters) in diameter and 65 feet (20 meters deep). In order to prevent the poisonous methane gas from escaping into the atmosphere, the hole was flared and then allowed to burn. At the time, it was thought that the fire would consume all its fuel and extinguish itself in a few days. The "Door to Hell" has, however, burned continuously since that day.

Fires burn indefinitely at the "Door to Hell"
Fires burn indefinitely at the "Door to Hell" | Source
Even from this distance, it is difficult to demonstrate the immensity of this gateway to hell.
Even from this distance, it is difficult to demonstrate the immensity of this gateway to hell. | Source

The “Door to Hell”

Once the entire drilling site collapsed into the crater, geologists had a decision to make. The concentration of the gases was so extreme, if the gas was not contained by some method, the fumes would have overwhelmed the residents of the nearby town of Darvaza. The geologists decided to allow the gas to burn itself out. Burning or flaring was much safer and friendlier to the environment than allowing the poisonous methane gas to be freely released into the environment. Methane is a very potent greenhouse gas with a significantly high global warming potential of 72 averaged over a 20 year period or 25 averaged over a 100 year period. This seemingly infinite pocket of methane gas has burned unceasingly since that time and shows no signs of weakening anytime soon.

Residents of Darvaza, numbering approximately 350, have dubbed this flaming gas crater, the “Door to Hell.” This inferno’s flames, which casts a menacing glow in the cover of darkness that can be observed for miles, dancing and licking at the air reinforces the idea of hell to all who have beheld this terrifyingly awesome and breath-taking sight. Watch the video below and you can get a small taste of the terror of hell. You can even hear the licking of the flames!

The “Door to Hell”

Thinking the hole would burn itself out in a few days, no one ventured into the massive crater at the time that it collapsed upon itself; and no one has entered it since either. The terrifying aspect of hell along with its vicious fires has stopped all that would dare.

Looking into this massive hole of unceasing flames, it is easy to see why the locals have named this site, the “Door to Hell”. When viewing this massive hole of flames that seems to feed on the air itself, it is easy to imagine this is way hell must look – feeding on the souls of the damned.

Is the “Door to Hell” Real?

Checking with hoax-slayer, they indicate that the photographs of this site near Darvaza are genuine, but any descriptions of the “Door to Hell” are unsubstantiated.

The first time I personally became aware of the flaming crater near Darvaza was via an email a few years back. Hoax-slayer indicates that information about the “Door to Hell” has been circulated by email, blogs and various online communities for many years now.

More Pictures and Video

John Bradley has taken a series of photos of the fiery gas crater that can be viewed here. Below you can see additional video footage.

Where in the world is Darvaza, Turkmenistan?

Darvaza, Turkmenistan:
Darvaza, Turkmenistan

get directions

What do you think?

This is just one of many holes that penetrate deeply into the crust of the earth. This hole, however, is the only one filled with an unlimited source of flames - best representing the Door to Hell!

What do you think? Does this hole look like it could be the entrance to hell?

All Rights Reserved

Copyright © 2011 Cindy Murdoch (homesteadbound)

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