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HELL'S DOOR: THE GIANT FIRE CRATER OF DARVAZ

HELL'S DOOR: THE GIANT FIRE CRATER OF DARVAZ

It is most impressive at night and the glow from its flames can be seen miles away.

The inside of the crater is black from carbon build up and the heat is so intense that it is only possible to stay near the edge for a few minutes.


Located in the Kara-Kum desert of Turkmenistan is the village of Darvaza (Derweze) near to where, in 1971, a team of Soviet prospectors allegedly drilled into a large chamber filled with natural gas. The roof of the cavern collapsed leaving a crater-like sinkhole some 25 metres deep with a diameter of approximately 60 - 70 metres. It soon became evident that natural gas was still rising into the crater from even deeper sources and the story goes that the decision was made to ignite the emissions rather than risk either a concentrated build-up of gas or local poisoning. According to various sources it has burned continuously since then and has apparently been named “The Gate to Hell” by the local people. However, another source that spoke with the guides from the region claims that it is a wholly natural phenomenon.

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