The Gates Of Hell May Finally Be Extinguished after 50 Years
The leader of Turkmenistan would like to finally close the “Gates of Hell” crater that has been burning in the Karakum Desert since the 1970s.
As reported by Metro, the president of Turkmenistan has urged scientists to find a way to seal up the fiery sinkhole, officially known as the Darvaza Crater, largely due to the environmental damage caused by the “methane and other noxious gases” that it releases into the air, which has sparked concerns over the negative impact on the health of the people living nearby.
The flaming crater reportedly stretches 230-feet wide across the desert terrain, which is located approximately 150 miles north of Turkmenistan’s capital, Ashgabat. It is said to have been formed in 1971 during a Soviet drilling operation for natural gas deposits when the ground beneath the drill rig collapsed inwards and created a 70-foot deep hole.
Shortly after its accidental creation, the crater was reportedly set alight in a bid to burn off the natural gases being emitted, with the Soviets estimating that it would “burn itself out in a couple of weeks.” However, this expectation turned out to be quite wrong, as the fiery pit is still ablaze 50 years later, with its amber glow visible for miles around the site.
“We are creating – and will continue to create – all necessary conditions for the development of the colossal hydrocarbon resources of our independent Motherland, in the interests of our people,” the Turkmen president declared alongside his most recent proposal to extinguish the flames, having made a previous attempt to expel the Gates of Hell in 2010.
Craters can sometimes offer a passage to the past. The Chicxulub crater, for instance, marks the impact site of an asteroid that struck Earth 66 million years ago. Scientists determined that the asteroid crashed and created a 90-mile deep hole in the ground, which had such an impact that the resulting effects killed all dinosaurs and 75% of the world’s animal species.