There is a crater of fire about the size of a football field in the middle of the Karakum Desert in Turkmenistan. The crater has been burning continuously for almost 50 years. Locals call it the “Door To Hell.”
Door To Hell: Facts About Darvaza Crater
The crater is officially known as the Darvaza gas crater. The crater is not volcanic and has no magma contrary to common belief. The Darvaza crater is a man-made pit.
The pit existed as a result of a Soviet-era gas drilling accident. However, Turkmenistan has no official record of such incident. But according to some reports, engineers from the former Soviet Russia drilled and hit a huge underground gas cavern in 1971, which then disintegrated.
It created a sinkhole that ate up a whole drilling rig. However, no one can confirm the said incident. The Soviets purportedly concealed the entire area of the disaster. Moreover, they did not leave any paper trail, not even an incident report, Business Insider reported.
Experts also said that the crater is the only light and heat source at night. This is why animals are naturally drawn to the crater. There are reports saying that camel spiders usually go near the crater due to its temperature. Ultimately, the camel spiders will plunge to their deaths.
The edges of the crater are nothing but dry mud, which would crumble under one’s feet. If one fell into the crater, he will suffer a horrendous death by asphyxiation. There are no recorded deaths caused by the crater to date. However, there is an urban myth about a local who allegedly fell into the pit.
Door To Hell: The Darvaza Gas Crater Expedition
National Geographic reported that explorer and storm chaser George Kourounis went on an expedition to the Darvaza gas crater in November 2013. He became the first person to go down into the depths of the crater, which is 69 meters wide and 30 meters deep. Kourounis collected soil samples. He wanted to know if life can survive in such horrific conditions or in similar conditions elsewhere in the universe.
He was later asked about his thoughts about the pit. He said that “surreal” is not enough to describe the experience. “When you take your first step off the edge, and you finally put all your weight on that rope, you’re trusting every link in that chain of technology and teamwork,” Kourounis said. “When you go out over, looking straight down, it’s literally like another planet almost.”