Well known across the globe, the ‘Gates of Hell', in Turkmenistan have never failed to surprise travellers. Officially named the Darvaza gas crater, it is a natural gas field that has been burning since the early 1970s. Located in the Karakum Desert in the villages of Darvaza in Turkmenistan, the amber glow of the crater can be seen from a distance.
While many theories surround the reason for its burning, the most believed theory is that the crater was created in early 1970s when a Soviet drilling rig accidentally punctured a massive hole into the surface, erupting a pocket of gas. This puncture led to poisonous fumes being leaked into the vicinity. In order to prevent further possible harmful effects, the Soviets set it on fire, assuming that it would extinguish within a few days.
However, that did not happen and the crater continues to be alight even today. The nearby desert here also serves as a popular place for wild camping and each year the tourist destination is flocked by many to witness the wonder.
However, this wonder may not be in existence for long enough. Turkmenistan’s President, Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov, has recently said that he wants to extinguish the natural gas crater. He ordered the government officials to put out the fire, citing its negative effects to both, the environment and the people living around as reasons to extinguish the flames.
He also said that it is causing ecological and economic damage to the country and has already directed scientists to find a way to put out the fire. The President also suggested to gather scientists and reach out to foreign intel if need be in order to figure out a way around the burning crater. However, currently there is no fixed date as to when will the fire be put out.
This is not the first time that an attempt to extinguish the fire has been made. Previously in 2010 as well Berdymukhamedov had ordered the fire to be extinguished, but all the attempts were unsuccessful.