Back in 1971, a group of gas mining geologists discovered an underground cavern in the Turkmenistan desert. The ground was thin and unstable, they soon found, after their gear collapsed into the hole below. The result was a crater, roughly 70 meters wide, spewing natural gases into the open sky.
After much deliberation, they decided to set her alight. Conservatively, they estimated it would take a week or so to burn itself out, tops. That way none of the harmful gases would affect the nearest city of Darvaza. They figured it would be a botched experiment no one had to know about.
But it's been 39 years since they ignited the big hole, and she's still burning - with little sign of slowing down. The Door to Hell, as it's been named by Darvaza locals, has a seemingly endless supply of natural gas. Perhaps she'll still be blazing in another four decades?more blog posts