Fire burning for 44 years straight is definitely a sight to behold and if that fire is burning inside a crater that is 230 feet in diameter, it is definitely one of the must-see places on Earth. So, if you happen to be an adventure tourist, this list of 18 interesting Door to Hell facts is something that you don’t want to miss.
Interesting Door to Hell Facts: 1-9
1. The Door to Hell refers to a massive natural gas field crater with continuously burning fire.
2. The actual name of Door to Hell is Derweze crater because it is located in Derweze, Ahal Province, Turkmenistan.
3. The natural gas field is located close to Derweze village and sits right in the middle of Karakum Desert.
4. The gas reserves of the field is world’s largest gas reserve.
5. Derweze in English translates into ‘gate’. This is possibly what gave birth to the crater’s namesake.
6. The Door to Hell is the name given to the crater by the locals. The name was drawn from the fact that the crater not only hosts a fire that burns continuously but hosts boiling mud. The orange flame and the boiling mud together give the image of hell as etched into human subconscious mind by religion.
7. In 1971, a group of petroleum engineers from Soviet Union thought that the field was a large and sustainable oil reserve.
8. Based on their incorrect measurements and data, the Soviet engineers started drilling operations so that they could successfully assess the gas reserves of the area.
9. The engineers were elated with joy upon discovery of natural gas and started storing the same. However, an accident took place in the place. The ground just below the camps and the drilling rig.
Interesting Door to Hell Facts: 10 -18
10. Despite the fact that the ground collapsed, there were no casualties. However, the collapse led to the opening of a crater with a diameter of 270 feet or 60 meters and depth of 65.5 feet.
11. Soviet engineers feared that the poisonous gas from the crater would spread to the locality.
12. They also thought that extracting the gas from underground would be too expensive and hence, they decided to burn out the gas.
13. The engineers lit the fire hoping that the gas would burn out in a few weeks. They again miscalculated.
14. The fire of the Door to Hell has been burning ever since then. It has been 44 years now since the fire was lit and there is absolutely no sign of the fire going out anytime soon.
15. The first person ever to set foot at the bottom of the crater was George Kourounis. He went down to gather extremophile microbes.
16. At night, the crater gives a beautiful sight. The sky is lit up by the light of the fire. The blast of hot air from the pit along with the roaring flames produce a mesmerizing effect.
17. A visitor from Turkmenistan named Gozel Yazkulieva said that the pit has an uncanny ability to remind people of their sins and make them want to pray.
18. In 2010, Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedow, the President of Turkmenistan declared after visiting the site that the hole will be closed in order to facilitate natural gas fields developments in nearby areas.