To make sure you never miss out on your favourite NEW stories, we're happy to send you some reminders

Click 'OK' then 'Allow' to enable notifications

Not now
OK
Advert
Advert
Advert

Real life 'Gates of Hell' has been burning for more than 50 years

Joe Harker

Published 
| Last updated 

Real life 'Gates of Hell' has been burning for more than 50 years

Featured Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons

For over 50 years a site known as the 'Gates of Hell' has been on fire and it's showing no signs of stopping any time soon.

If someone told you there was a gaping hole in the ground that had been burning ceaselessly for decades you'd probably find it hard to believe, even though it sounds incredibly cool (not temperature-wise).

Loading…

Advert

So named because it's a giant hole in the ground that's perpetually on fire, the 'Gates of Hell' is the popular name of a crater 69 metres (226ft) wide and 30 metres (98ft) deep located in Turkmenistan.

Far from being Satan's personal doorstep, the place is actually a crater of natural gas on a site which was identified by the Soviet Union as a potential oil field back in 1971.

Early surveys of the site found that rather than oil, there was a pocket of natural gas beneath the spot they were drilling on, which then collapsed down into the ground for form the huge crater.

This is the Darvaza gas crater in Turkmenistan, but it's better known as the 'Gates of Hell'. Credit: Thiago Trevisan / Alamy Stock Photo
This is the Darvaza gas crater in Turkmenistan, but it's better known as the 'Gates of Hell'. Credit: Thiago Trevisan / Alamy Stock Photo
Advert

Steadily releasing potentially dangerous gases from the pocket into the surrounding area, the 'Gates of Hell' were created after a group of Soviet engineers (Turkmenistan was part of the Soviet Union at the time) came up with what they thought was a brilliant solution.

Deciding to curb the harmful effects the gas might have on the surrounding area, they thought the best course of action would be to light the crater on fire.

It was assumed that this would have the effect of burning the gas away in a few weeks, but that didn't turn out to be the case.

Instead, the Gates of Hell are still ablaze more than 50 years later and there's no sign that this infernal inferno is set to stop burning in the near future.

Advert

Since then, it's been a popular tourist spot, because who wouldn't want to visit a giant hole in the ground that's been on fire for decades?

The site has become a popular tourist spot and has been burning for over 50 years. Credit: Ioannis Mantas / Alamy Stock Photo
The site has become a popular tourist spot and has been burning for over 50 years. Credit: Ioannis Mantas / Alamy Stock Photo

Efforts to finally close these 'Gates of Hell' and at last extinguish the fire that has been burning for over 50 years are underway, particularly since all that burning of gas is causing environmental damage.

According to the Smithsonian Magazine, Turkmenistan's government is trying to find some way to solve the problem, though this is fraught with difficulty.

Advert

Someone that can actually claim to have marched into the 'Gates of Hell' itself, explorer George Kourounis who journeyed into the burning crater in 2013, said he wasn't sure it could be done.

He explained that when he was down there he found that whenever he dug up a chunk of scorched earth there would be more fire as it created a new path for the gas to escape and ignite.

Previous efforts to quell the flames in 2010 were attempted, but ultimately proved to be unsuccessful.

Topics: Features, Science, World News, Weird

Joe Harker
More like this
Advert
Advert
Advert

Chosen for YouChosen for You

Film & TV

Shocking true story behind 'new Game of Thrones' series that has perfect Rotten Tomatoes score

an hour ago

Most Read StoriesMost Read

Machine Gun Kelly has officially changed his name on Spotify

9 hours ago