When Soviet geologist discovered a cavern with natural gas, they decided to burn it off so it wouldn’t harm anybody, Expecting it to take a few days. Four decades later it stills burns, locals refer to it as the “Door to Hell”
“The Door to Hell is a natural gas field in Derweze (also spelled Darvaza, meaning “”gate””), Ahal Province, Turkmenistan. The Door to Hell is noted for its natural gas fire which has been burning continuously since it was lit by Soviet petrochemical scientists in 1971, fed by the rich natural gas deposits in the area. The pungent smell of burning sulfur pervades the area for some distance.
The site was identified by Soviet scientists in 1971. It was thought to be a substantial oil field site. The scientists set up a drilling rig and camp near by, and started drilling operations to assess the quantity of gas reserve available at the site. As the Soviets were pleased with the success of finding the gas resources, they started storing the gas. The ground beneath the drilling rig and camp collapsed into a wide crater and disappeared. No lives were lost in the incident. However, large quantities of methane gas were released, creating an environmental problem and posing a potential danger to the people of the nearby villages.Fearing the release of further poisonous gases from the cavern, the scientists decided to burn it off. They thought that it would be safer to burn it than to extract it from underground through expensive methods. Environmentally, gas firing is the next best solution when the circumstances are such that it cannot be extracted for use. Methane gas released into the atmosphere is also a dangerous greenhouse gas whose potential for global warming is much higher than that of the carbon dioxide created when it burns. At that time, expectations were that the gas would burn within days, but it is still burning, four decades after it was set on fire.”