Derweze – The Door to Hell

31 Mar

In the Karakum (or ‘Black Sand’) Desert, which covers much of the central-Asian country of Turkmenistan, one of the strangest-looking natural gas deposits in the world sits outside of Derweze village. It is a large crater, with a diameter of 230 feet.

Location of Derweze in Turkmenistan

Location of Derweze in Turkmenistan

It is known to the locals as the ‘Door to Hell’, for reasons that become quite obvious when you look at it. The area also smells quite strongly of sulphur, which is quite a ‘hellish’ smell. Here’s some pictures of it:

Distant view of the crater. Credit: P. Lechian

Distant view of the crater. Credit: P. Lechian

Credit: Tormod Sandtorv

Credit: Tormod Sandtorv

If there actually was a doorway to hell, then this place really does resemble how most people would picture it. Why does it look like this, though?

Turkmenistan is known for its natural oil and gas reserves. In fact, it has the fourth-largest natural gas reserves in the world. In 1971, some scientists investigated the field near Derweze to see if they could drill for oil. Upon realising that the field was actually a very large natural gas field, they decided to store the gas, and started drilling operations to get to it. Unfortunately, the ground that they were drilling collapsed and formed a large crater, which released methane gases into the air. Worried that the methane would affect the local population and nearby environment, the scientists decided to burn the gas off. This was considered to be a normal way of getting rid of dangerous gases, and they figured the burning would only last a few days.

It didn’t burn for a few days, though, in fact, it kept burning for 40-odd years. Even today, it is still burning! The hole really does look like some kind of doorway to a fiery underworld, especially at night-time.

The crater as seen at night. Credit: Flydime (http://www.flickr.com/photos/flydime/4671890969/)

The crater as seen at night. Credit: Flydime (http://www.flickr.com/photos/flydime/4671890969/)

So, now you know why it looks like this. I think it would be a great place to visit, but I might never be able to. This is because, as of 2010, Turkmenistan’s government is taking measures to have the hole closed so that it doesn’t influence other natural gas drilling efforts in the region. Either way, the ‘Door to Hell’ is still probably one of the coolest things I’ve ever seen!

7 Responses to “Derweze – The Door to Hell”

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Kind Of Perpetual Motion Machine: Question for the Engineers and Scientists: Why Can’t We Use The Gates Of Hell Energy To Power the World ? | Talesfromthelou's Blog - April 14, 2013

    […] Derweze – The Door to Hell (excitingearth.com) […]

  2. The Door to Hell - World MysteriesTV | World MysteriesTV - November 28, 2013

    […] Sources:http://www.reuters.com/article/2010/04/20/us-turkmenistan-crater-odd-idUSTRE63J4H120100420http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2179622/The-Door-Hell-Giant-hole-Karakum-Desert-40-YEARS.htmlhttp://www.treehugger.com/clean-technology/geologists-accidentally-opened-the-door-to-hell.htmlhttp://excitingearth.com/2013/03/31/derweze-the-door-to-hell/http://sometimes-interesting.com/2013/07/31/turkmenistans-door-to-hell/ […]

  3. The Door to Hell | Gamisodes - December 3, 2013

    […] Sources:http://www.reuters.com/article/2010/04/20/us-turkmenistan-crater-odd-idUSTRE63J4H120100420http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2179622/The-Door-Hell-Giant-hole-Karakum-Desert-40-YEARS.htmlhttp://www.treehugger.com/clean-technology/geologists-accidentally-opened-the-door-to-hell.htmlhttp://excitingearth.com/2013/03/31/derweze-the-door-to-hell/http://sometimes-interesting.com/2013/07/31/turkmenistans-door-to-hell/ […]

  4. The Door to Hell | TheReasonChannel.com - A Life of Reason through Skeptism, Science, Politics & Secularism - December 4, 2013

    […] Sources:http://www.reuters.com/article/2010/04/20/us-turkmenistan-crater-odd-idUSTRE63J4H120100420http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2179622/The-Door-Hell-Giant-hole-Karakum-Desert-40-YEARS.htmlhttp://www.treehugger.com/clean-technology/geologists-accidentally-opened-the-door-to-hell.htmlhttp://excitingearth.com/2013/03/31/derweze-the-door-to-hell/http://sometimes-interesting.com/2013/07/31/turkmenistans-door-to-hell/ […]

  5. The Door to Hell | O.M.G Network - December 26, 2013

    […] Sources:http://www.reuters.com/article/2010/04/20/us-turkmenistan-crater-odd-idUSTRE63J4H120100420http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2179622/The-Door-Hell-Giant-hole-Karakum-Desert-40-YEARS.htmlhttp://www.treehugger.com/clean-technology/geologists-accidentally-opened-the-door-to-hell.htmlhttp://excitingearth.com/2013/03/31/derweze-the-door-to-hell/http://sometimes-interesting.com/2013/07/31/turkmenistans-door-to-hell/ […]

  6. The Door to Hell | Nayi TV - February 6, 2014

    […] Sources:http://www.reuters.com/article/2010/04/20/us-turkmenistan-crater-odd-idUSTRE63J4H120100420http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2179622/The-Door-Hell-Giant-hole-Karakum-Desert-40-YEARS.htmlhttp://www.treehugger.com/clean-technology/geologists-accidentally-opened-the-door-to-hell.htmlhttp://excitingearth.com/2013/03/31/derweze-the-door-to-hell/http://sometimes-interesting.com/2013/07/31/turkmenistans-door-to-hell/ […]

  7. The Door to Hell - March 21, 2014

    […] Sources:http://www.reuters.com/article/2010/04/20/us-turkmenistan-crater-odd-idUSTRE63J4H120100420http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2179622/The-Door-Hell-Giant-hole-Karakum-Desert-40-YEARS.htmlhttp://www.treehugger.com/clean-technology/geologists-accidentally-opened-the-door-to-hell.htmlhttp://excitingearth.com/2013/03/31/derweze-the-door-to-hell/http://sometimes-interesting.com/2013/07/31/turkmenistans-door-to-hell/ […]

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