Turkmenistan’s ‘Gateway to Hell’

Turkmenistan’s President Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov recently ordered officials to find a method of finally extinguishing the ‘Gateway to Hell’ in the country.

Key Points

  • Turkmenistan’s Gateway to Hell is the raging flames, burning for five decades in a large natural gas crater.
  • This is not the first time, when officials have been ordered to find a way to extinguish the huge fire.
  • This decision was taken as man-made crater “negatively affects the environment as well as health of the people living nearby.

Is it a natural phenomenon?

No, the Gateway to Hell is not a natural phenomenon. But a human disaster, despite this fact, the crater attracts a lot of tourists from worldwide.

The Darvaza gas crater

The Darvaza Crater, which is also called as the Door to Hell, is 225 feet wide 99 feet deep, crater. It has a diameter of 70 metres, across an area of 5.5 square metres. It is a natural gas field collapsed into a cavern near Darvaza in Turkmenistan.

How was the Door to Hell created?

  • It is believed that, in 1971, a simple miscalculation by Soviet scientists led to the creation of this crater.
  • The Soviet scientists had underestimated the amount of fuel laying below. Their boring equipment drilled through an underground cavern. Because of this, a deep sinkhole was created.
  • After the gas driller fell into the pit, scientists were concerned that the crater would release noxious gases. Toxic methane gas had already started leaking into the atmosphere.
  • Thus, in order to stop the methane from reaching neighbouring areas and causing damage to the environment & living organisms, scientists decided to set the crater ablaze.

Did crater ablaze help?

Scientists had expected that, gas would burn out quickly as and when fire would consume all of it and thus flames would be doused. But the flame did not get extinguished and a massive fire has been burning continuously since 1971.



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