There are plenty of strange phenomena on this planet like the Bermuda Triangle, or… Bigfoot(?) – but there are a few that can not only be fully explained, but are actually man made. One these man made phenomenons is the fiery, aptly named Door to Hell.
Though it looks like something that should have existed in biblical times, this flaming chasm in the arid desert of northern Turkmenistan is actually the product of the 20th century and our need for energy.
In 1971, engineers from the Soviet Union identified the site as a prime position for oil and gas drilling. As they continued with their operations, the drilling rig dramatically collapsed, leaving behind a crater that was 70 metres wide and 30 metres deep – and emitted copious amounts of poisonous gases. In order to prevent the further release of the gases, the engineers decided to light the pit, expecting it to only burn for a few weeks. It has now been burning every day for over 40 years.
It’s become a place of interest over the past few years, and Turkmenistan is hoping that the Door to Hell can boost tourism within the country. It’s also been the subject of scientific examinations, with some researchers finding that certain types of bacteria are happily living within the crater.
If you’d like to know more about the expedition, which actually saw one man (in a heat proof suit) flying over the crater via zip wire, then check out the links below.
National Geographic – Q&A: The First-Ever Expedition to Turkmenistan’s “Door to Hell”
The Guardian – Dropping in on Turkmenistan’s ‘door to hell’ – in pictures
Also, if you’re interested by this article, I would recommend this Buzzfeed article (18 Amazing And Surreal Natural Phenomena That Occur On Earth).