The head of Turkmenistan decides to close the ‘Gates of Hell’

Written by The Frontier Post

Angelina Milchenko

The Turkmen authorities have to find a way to extinguish the gas that has been burning for 50 years in the crater under the unofficial name “Gates of Hell”. Such an order was given by the head of the republic Gurbanguly Be-rdimuhamedov. The crater is located 266 km from the capital of Turk-menistan and attracts numerous tourists.
The Gates of Hell gas crater, which has been burning in Turkmenistan for over 50 years, must be extinguished. The corresponding order was given by the President of the Republic Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov , the Turkmen TV reports.
Deputy Prime Minister Shakhym Abrakhmanov was appointed responsible for finding a way to extinguish the crater in the Kar-akum desert. He is in ch-arge of the oil and gas complex. The head of the country announced his instructions, speaking at an online meeting of the government.
Berdimuhamedov drew attention to the fact that “natural gas has been burned in large quantities in the Darvaza region for many years.” He stressed that such a situation has a bad effect on the environment and health of people from nearby settlements.
“In addition, we are losing valuable raw materials that we could export and use the funds received to improve the welfare of the people. In this regard, I am instructing you to gather scientists, if necessary, attract foreign specialists and find a way to extinguish this fire, ”he said.
The crater is located in the Karakum desert – near the village of Darvaza – 266 km from the capital of Turkmenistan, Ashgabat. It originated in 1971. Then the researchers were looking for natural gas. They drilled a well, but there was a landslide.
To avoid poisoning people and animals, geologists decided to set fire to the escaping gas. They hoped the gas would burn out in a few days. But it continues to blaze, attracting the attention of tourists, for 50 years.
Travelers call this crater, with a diameter of about 60 m and a depth of 20 m, “The Gates of Hell”, as flames burst from the hollow. Nevertheless, excursions are conducted to the burning crater. They are especially popular at night.
“This is a huge sinkhole in the middle of an almost lifeless desert, inside which there are flames, and the air around them burns the face,” Azad from Ashgabat told RIA Novosti.
He added that when he first approached the crater, he experienced “a thrill, some kind of subconscious feeling of uneasiness.” “It is clear why this place is called the“ Gates of Hell ”,” said the agency’s interlocutor. The manager of one and local travel agencies, Lyubov Pavlova, advises to come to the crater shortly before dawn, because then you can see the “Gates of Hell” in the dark and morning twilight. She also drew attention to the fact that the journey from the Turkmen capital of Ashgabat takes more than three hours, including half an hour off-road.
Locals rarely visit the crater on purpose. They believe that there is something mystical about the “Gates of Hell”. But “The Gates of Hell” is a popular name. In 2018, the crater got its official name – “Shining of the Karakum Desert”.
It should be noted that this crater is “inhabited” with life. In November 2013, Canadian traveler and explorer George Koronis discovered bacteria in the “Shining of the Karakum desert” that live at high temperatures at the bottom of the crater.
It is believed that such bacteria are not found anywhere else on Earth. At the same time, a small ecosystem at the bottom of a hot crater is an ideal habitat for them. The scientist found this out by going down to the bottom of the “Gates of Hell”.
The traveler said that the descent was preceded by preparation, which took a year and a half. During this time, he received permission to descend, prepared equipment, assembled a team. Before going to the crater, he trained over the gorge of a local river. Thus, he tried descent along a stretched rope in a heat-resistant suit, with a breathing apparatus and equipment for shooting and collecting materials. Koronis said that he felt as if on another planet, surrounded by numerous torches of flame.

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