Door to Hell is an aptly named natural gas field in the Karakum Desert of Darweze, Turkmenistan that has been burning for over forty years. The flaming crater was originally a level surface identified by Soviet scientists in 1971 as an area rich in gas resources. Unfortunately, the ground collapsed under the weight and pressure of the drilling rigs set up at the site. Thus, environmentally hazardous methane gases were released from the massive depression, forcing scientists to take quick action and burn out the gases. What they didn’t expect was for the fire to last over four decades.
Considering the large size of the crater, containing the gaseous outbreak would be very expensive, which is why the scientists opted for an easier, more cost-effective, and what they presumed would be a quicker solution. The gas firing, a common practice for extreme circumstances like this 42-year-old incident, set the enormous basin ablaze and was expected to last only a few days. Instead, it continues to burn bright to this day. Now, it is a tourist hotspot (no pun intended), drawing visitors from all around the world to the inferno pit.
Top photo via reddit