Darvaza gas crater

The Darvaza gas crater (Turkmen: Garagum ýalkymy), also known as the Door to Hell or Gates of Hell, or, officially, the Shining of Karakum, is a burning natural gas field collapsed into a cavern near Darvaza, Turkmenistan. The floor and rim of the crater are illuminated by hundreds of natural gas fires. The crater has been burning since the 1980s. How the crater formed is unknown, but engineers ignited the crater to prevent poisonous gases from spreading.

The early years of the crater's history are uncertain.[1][2] Relevant records are either absent from the archives, classified, or inaccessible.[3][1] Some local geologists have claimed that the collapse into a crater happened in the 1960s; it was set on fire only in the 1980s to prevent emission of poisonous gases.[4] Others assert that the site was drilled by Soviet engineers in 1971 as an oil field but collapsed within days, forming the crater, with the engineers choosing to flare the crater to prevent emission of poisonous gases but underestimating the volume of the gas.[5]

Controlling the burn

In April 2010, President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedow recommended that measures be taken to limit the crater's influence on the development of other natural gas fields in the area.[6] In January 2022, Berdimuhamedow announced plans to extinguish the crater, citing deleterious effects on local health, the environment, and the natural gas industry.[7][8] A commission was established to find the optimum technique.[9] Despite Berdimuhamedow's intentions, the crater remains open and burning.

^ a b Cite error: The named reference :0 was invoked but never defined (see the help page). ^ Shearlaw, Maeve (2014-07-18). "Dropping in on Turkmenistan's 'door to hell' – in pictures". The Guardian. Retrieved 2017-04-29. ^ Cite error: The named reference BI was invoked but never defined (see the help page). ^ Nunez, Christina (2014-07-14). "Q&A: The First-Ever Expedition to Turkmenistan's 'Door to Hell'". National Geographic. Archived from the original on March 5, 2021. Retrieved 2023-07-13. ^ "Turkmenistan hopes 'Door to Hell' will boost tourism". CTV News. Relaxnews. Agence France-Presse. 2014-06-22. Retrieved 2017-01-28. ^ Gurt, Marat (2010-04-20). "Turkmen president wants to close "Hell's Gate"". Reuters. Retrieved 2012-12-16. ^ "Turkmenistan plans to close its 'Gateway to Hell'". BBC News. 2022-01-08. Retrieved 2022-12-28. ^ Galer, Sophia Smith (10 January 2022). "The 'Gates of Hell' Could be Closed After Blazing for 50 Years". VICE. ^ Marcus, Lilit (10 January 2022). "Gates of Hell: Turkmenistan's President wants to close Darvaza gas crater". CNN. Archived from the original on 28 April 2023. Retrieved 28 April 2023.
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