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Surprising Science

“The Door to Hell” in Derweze, Turkmenistan

Deep in the heart of the Karakum Desert, a burning field of natural gas attracts curious tourists who seek to lay eye on a fire that has been burning continuously since 1971.

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.

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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.


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