A deep and wide crater has been burning in Turkmenistan since the 1970s. But almost 50 years later, efforts are being made to shut it down. It is called the ‘Gate of Hell’, which means ‘the door to hell’. There is an interesting story about its birth. Due to the misconception of some scientists, it caught fire and it is still burning. The President of Turkmenistan has issued an order to put it out but can it really be put out? This is because attempts have been made in the past and it has failed.
The ‘Gates of Hell’ fiery sinkhole is 230 feet wide and is located in the Karakum Desert of Turkmenistan, 150 miles north of the country’s capital, Ashgabat. Its diameter is about 60 meters and depth is about 20 meters. Geologists have kindled a fire to prevent the gas from spreading. Scientists expected the gas burn to end in a few more weeks. The fire has been burning ever since.
People’s health is affected by the pit
The country’s president, Kurbanguli Bertimukhmetov, has ordered his government to find ways to put out the blaze, which is causing “environmental damage”. This is said to be affecting the health of the public living nearby. Some Soviet scientists say it was burned in 1971. According to a popular story, scientists were searching for natural gas deposits in the desert.
How was the ‘door of hell’ born?
During the search operation, the upper layers of soil eroded inwards, creating a pit 70 feet deep, filled with hazardous gas. Scientists burned it to remove the gas. They realized that in a few weeks the gas would run out and the fire would go out. But even after 51 years, the fire in the pit can still be seen from many kilometers away.
Attempts have already been made to close
Attempts were made even before the gates of hell were closed. In 2010, Bertimukhmedov ordered experts to close it, but despite all efforts, it could not close. Three years later the President declared it a natural reserve, and it became a major tourist attraction. Thousands of people travel here every year to see this. Bertimukhmedov also videotaped walking around the pit in 2019 to quell rumors of his death. Now an order has been issued to close it again.
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