Awasu » The Gates Of Hell
Saturday 17th May 2008 10:19 AM [General]

I love a weird and wonderful story as much as the next guy but this one is just amazing!

Darvaza (Turkmen language: The Gate) is a Turkmenistan village of about 350 inhabitants, located in the middle of the Kara-Kum desert, about 260 km north from Ashgabat.
Darvaza underground is naturally rich in natural gas. In 1971, during a drilling, geologists accidentally found an underground cavern filled with natural gas. The ground on which the drilling rig was placed collapsed, leaving a large gaping hole exposed with a diameter of about 50-100 meters. To avoid poisonous gases coming out of the hole, it was decided to let the gases burn. As of 2008, gases in the underground cavern are still burning without interruption.

So, this thing has been burning for almost forty years, with no end in sight :bigshock: Some insanely cool pictures here.

This is all vaguely reminiscent of a 2006 movie called Silent Hill [1], set in a town that had been abandoned because of a huge long-burning fire in the mines beneath it. Funny thing is, it seems to have been not only inspired by a video game of the same name, but by a real-life place called Centralia in Pennsylvania.

Its population has dwindled from over 1,000 residents in 1981 to 12 in 2005 and 9 in 2007, as a result of a 46-year-old mine fire burning beneath the borough.
In May 1962, Centralia Borough Council hired five members of the volunteer fire company to clean up the town landfill, located in an abandoned strip mine pit next to the Odd Fellows Cemetery. This had been done prior to Memorial Day in previous years, when the landfill was in a different location. The firefighters, as they had in the past, set the dump on fire, and let it burn for a time. Unlike in previous years, however, the fire was not extinguished.
In 1979, locals became aware of the scale of the problem when a gas-station owner inserted a stick into one of his underground tanks to check the fuel level. When he withdrew it, it seemed hot, so he lowered a thermometer down on a string and was shocked to discover that the temperature of the gasoline in the tank was 172 °F (77.8 °C).

Man, there's some truly weird stuff going on out there in the world... :blink:

[1] And I will confess to not only having gone to see this movie, but also rather enjoying it :-)

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