Gateway to Hell: Turkmenistan’s President Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov recently ordered officials to find a method of finally extinguishing the ‘Gateway to Hell’ in the country.
- Gateway to Hell is the raging flames, burning for five decades in a large natural gas crater in Karakum desert in Turkmenistan.
- This decision was taken as man-made crater “negatively affects the environment as well as health of the people living nearby.
- This was also causing loss of valuable natural resources for which a significant profits could be got which could be used for improving the well-being of the people of Turkmenistan.
- However, this is not the first time, when officials have been ordered to find a way to extinguish the huge fire.
- In 2010, Berdymukhamedov had ordered experts to find a way to put out the flames that have been burning ever since a Soviet drilling operation went awry in 1971.
About Darvaza gas crater:
- The Darvaza gas crater also known as also known as the Door to Hell or Gateway to Hell is 225 feet wide (69 metres), 99 feet (30 metres) deep, has a diameter of 70 metres, and an area of 5.5 square metres.
- The natural gas field in the Darwaza region runs under the Caspian Sea, occupies about eight billion square kilometres, and ranks among the top ten largest natural gas reserves in the world.
How was the crater formed?
- The formation of this crater is not a natural phenomenon but a human disaster.
- It is believed that the cause was a simple miscalculation by Soviet scientists.
- The crater was created in 1971 during a Soviet drilling accident that hit a gas cavern, causing the drilling rig to fall in and the earth to collapse underneath it.
- This released toxic methane gas into the atmosphere.
- To prevent the dangerous fumes from spreading, the Soviets decided to burn off the gas by setting it on fire.
- They underestimated the amount of fuel that lay below.
- The flame did not get extinguished and is still burning continuously since 1971.
- The burning crater is a popular tourist attraction in the ex-Soviet country.
Note: Turkmenistan is an ex-Soviet nation.
- In 2018, the president officially renamed it to the “Shining of Karakum“.
- Turkmenistan also known as Turkmenia, is a sovereign country in Central Asia.
- It is bordered by the Caspian Sea and largely covered by the Karakum Desert.
- Its Capital is Ashgabat and its official language is Turkmen.
- The currency used here is Turkmenistan manat.
- The current President of Turkmenistan is Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedow.