Turkmenistan’s Door to Hell

29 Jun

Over forty years ago, Soviet scientists detected a large natural gas source in what’s now Turkmenistan.

They set up a rig and got drilling. Shortly thereafter, though, the rig collapsed and formed a giant crater.


The crater, moreover, was giving off large quantities of poisonous methane gas, threatening the lives of villagers in nearby Turkmen villages.

To solve the problem in one fell swoop, the scientists decided to burn off the methane gas and then resume drilling.


After starting the fire, it expanded to cover the entire crater, but the fire neither burned off the methane gas nor abated.

In time, it became just another forgotten failure and, before too long, became part of another country.

To this day, in the Karakum Desert, the methane still blazes in the crater, creating a tourist attraction dubbed the “Door to Hell.”



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