Back in 1971, a group of soviet scientists had the bright idea to light a massive natural gas fire in the middle of the Turkmeni desert. Forty-three years later, the blaze still burns.

Locals call it "The Door to Hell" and it looks like the sort of thing you'd find a Pit Lord crawling out of. Less colloquially known as the Derweze Crater, the large, endlessly-lit natural gas field attracts thousands of tourists per year.

I guess there's nothing quite like fire to arouse the interest of mankind.

Be sure to check out National Geographic's first expedition to the Door to Hell.

You can also view a high resolution version of the photo above via the link below -- it should be noted that the crater is bigger than it appears in the panorama.

Photo credit: "Darvasa gas crater panorama crop" by Tormod Sandtorv (original picture)Hellbus (derived work) - This file was derived from:Darvasa_gas_crater_panorama.jpg. Licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons.