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Gas crater also known as 'Doorway to Hell' has been burning for 53 years and people still don't know exactly how it began

Gas crater also known as 'Doorway to Hell' has been burning for 53 years and people still don't know exactly how it began

“The kind of spot where Satan himself should jump out with a pitchfork.”

An enormous sinkhole in the middle of the desert is leaking methane gas and has been dubbed as the ‘doorway to Hell’.

Hot desert wind blasts over the top of the man-made crater which is situated in the Karakum desert in Turkmenistan.

It has been like this for decades, with many believing that it was set alight on purpose by Soviet authorities.

The crater has been dubbed as the 'doorway to Hell' (Bjorn Holland/Getty)
The crater has been dubbed as the 'doorway to Hell' (Bjorn Holland/Getty)

However, no one knows for sure just how the giant hole came to be set on fire.

One theory is that the Darvaza crater was formed in 1971 and set alight immediately but others believe that the hole dates back to the 1960s and was bubbling with gas until it was lit in the 1980s.

In a video clip uploaded to YouTube by the BBC, they say the sight looks like, “the kind of spot where Satan himself should jump out with a pitchfork.”

No one knows exactly how the sinkhole began leaking gas (Alatom/Getty)
No one knows exactly how the sinkhole began leaking gas (Alatom/Getty)

They go on to detail how one suggestion of how the crater could have been accidentally ignited would be by lightning strike or, if lit intentionally, “one theory is the soviets used a technique known as flaring, a common practice in natural gas extraction in which excess gas is intentionally burned for safety and financial reasons”.

From an environmental perspective, the crater could be disastrous as the uncontrolled release of a greenhouse gas into the atmosphere will be damaging our planet.

There has been talk of extinguishing the crater but Turkmenistan authorities changed their minds and now instead use the crater as a way to promote tourism.

The crater has been burning for 53 years (mtcurado/Getty)
The crater has been burning for 53 years (mtcurado/Getty)

According to the report in the video, the country only sees around 6,000 tourists a year but the sinkhole’s mysterious history seems to be drawing in adventure seekers who are snapping up the chance to catch a glimpse for themselves.

In the video, the narrator continues: “In my protective heatsuit feeling very much like an astronaut, surrounded by what I call a coliseum of fire, it's probably the closest experience that a human being can have to stepping on another world.”

Taking to the YouTube comment section, people were quick to share their thoughts on the ‘doorway to Hell’, with one user suggesting: “Put a giant lid on top , it will stop oxygen and fire , then we can use the gas.”

Another added: “Despite being called the gates of hell. It looks quite beautiful during night time in my opinion.”

And a third joked: “Looks like I found my dream gas cooker tailored to my munchy needs.”

Featured Image Credit: Bjorn Holland/mtcurado/Getty