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Darvaza or Gates of Hell

Darvaza or Gates of Hell

Darvaza is located in Turkmenistan in the very center of Kara-Kum - one of the greatest deserts in Asia. This unique crater appeared after geologists discovered an extremely promising gas field near the village of Darvaza in 1971 (which is not surprising, especially considering that Turkmenistan is in fourth place in terms of gas reserves).

Good to Know

Diameter 60 meters. Depth 20 meters.
In 1971, a gas exploration well was drilled here and the team stumbled upon an underground cavern. A drilling rig with all the equipment and vehicles fell into the abyss. Fortunately, people were not hurt. Natural gas began to escape from the technogenic crater. In order not to poison people and livestock, the team set fire to the gas. Since then, for 48 years, unquenchable torches have been burning. No one knows how many millions (billions) cubic meters of valuable natural raw materials have burned since then.
Best season:
April – November

While scientists are thinking about how to extinguish the fire crater, at the end of autumn 2013 the Canadian traveler and explorer George Kourounis decided to go through the Gates of Hell and go down to the bottom of the crater. The purpose of his expedition was to collect soil from the bottom of the fire well for further study in order to determine whether at least some organisms are able to survive in such conditions.

In order to descend to the bottom of the fire crater Kourounis had to prepare properly, namely to obtain permission, assemble a team, prepare and test the equipment. For this training purposes he repeatedly descended from a cliff above the river with the help of special climbing equipment, being dressed in a heatproof suit and with a breathing apparatus (while the clothes and the rest of the equipment were made of Kevlar – a special material with high density and able to withstand temperatures of about 500 ° C). Upon returning Kourounis called the Gates of Hell the Coliseum of Fire, because thousands of small lights burn everywhere – and, surprisingly, no smoke is visible anywhere, only a sound is heard – a powerful, pumping, reminiscent of the jet engine rumble.