The Door To Hell Has Been Burning for Over 40 Years

The Door to Hell (Darvaza Gas Crater), an aptly named crater that is now a crowded tourist attraction. An incredible phenomenon, this crater is located in the Karakum Desert of Turkmenistan, close to the Darweze village.

With a width of 230 feet, it has been burning for over 40 years, and is believed to have been created by Soviet engineers in 1971. 

The story behind the Door to Hell is quite fascinating. In 1971, while drilling for oil in the Karakum Desert, Soviet engineers accidentally tapped into a large underground cavern filled with natural gas. To their dismay, the land under their rig caved in, which then released large amounts of methane gas.

Believe it or not, there are even photos of the Darvaza gas crater from space.

Fearing this release of toxic gasses and how it would harm the locals, the engineers set the cavern on fire in order to burn off the gas. They expected the fire to burn out in a few days, but it has been burning brightly ever since, and has become a popular tourist attraction.

Darweze is located in the Karakum Desert, which is home to one of the world’s biggest gas reserve. With this, Turkmenistan is looking to skyrocket its exportation to 75 million cubic meters of gas in the next couple of decades. 

Will Keeping, a retired tourist from Buchlyvie, came to experience the crater after being told of its uniqueness. He had no idea what was awaiting him.

He walked to the crater, and described it as a ‘huge open furnace’. Not impressed in the beginning, during daylight hours when the fire wasn’t very visible, Keeping slowly became awestruck with the magnificence of the crater.

Getting closer to the sunset, the fire from the crater became more obvious, and transfixed him to the phenomenon until he could see why this crater attracted tourists in the first place. Inspired by its size and brilliance, Keeping understood the crater’s magnetic pull towards all who visited it.

Darvaza Crater Video

Map of Darvaza Gas Crater

via Daily Mail

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ILR Author Bio
About the author

Jay Patton is a serial traveler and adventure seeker, based in Portland, Oregon. He enjoys hiking, running, and traveling the world, and is always on the lookout for the next big adventure.