The Darvaza Gas Crater is a captivating natural phenomenon located in the Karakum Desert of Turkmenistan 260 km from its capital Ashgabat. Its also known as the “Door to Hell” or “Gates of Hell”. On the way to Darvaza crater one can admire the Karakum desert, its moving sands, the saxaul and kandym desert trees. Here and there along the way we can see herds of camels grazed by the people, away from any civilization. Crater called the “gates of hell” has a diameter of 70 m and is situated on the largest cluster of gas underground in the world.
Location and physical parameters
The gas crater is located in the heart of the Karakum Desert, approximately 260 kilometres (160 mi) north of Turkmenistan’s capital, Ashgabat in close proximity to the village of Darvaza. The exact geographical coordinates of the place are 40.25264736059335, 58.43958926721146 (latitude, longitude).
Adjacent to it, there exists another gas crater that is cordoned off and emits a distinct odor of natural gas. With dimensions spanning 60 to 70 metres (200 to 230 ft) in diameter and plunging to a depth of around 30 metres (98 ft), this mesmerizing geological formation captivates the senses.
The origin of the Darvaza Gas Crater can be traced back to a Soviet drilling accident that occurred in 1971. While exploring for natural gas reserves, a drilling rig inadvertently collapsed, creating a massive crater measuring approximately 70 meters in diameter and 20 meters deep. To prevent the release of potentially dangerous gases, it was decided to ignite the crater and burn off the escaping methane.
However, what was expected to be a temporary measure turned into an enduring spectacle. The flames ignited in 1971 continue to burn relentlessly to this day, transforming the crater into a fiery pit that seems straight out of a science fiction movie. The intense heat and roaring flames have given the crater its infamous nickname, the “Door to Hell.”
The sight of the Darvaza Gas Crater is nothing short of awe-inspiring. As the sun sets and darkness falls over the desert, the crater comes alive with an otherworldly glow. The bright orange flames illuminate the surroundings, casting an eerie and surreal atmosphere. The heat emanating from the crater can be felt from a distance, adding to the overall mystique of the place.
The Darvaza Gas Crater has become a popular destination for adventurous travelers and photographers seeking a truly unique experience. Despite its remote location, visitors make the journey to witness this mesmerizing spectacle firsthand. Camping near the crater allows for an up-close encounter with the extraordinary phenomenon, providing an unforgettable and surreal night under the stars.
While the Darvaza Gas Crater is undoubtedly a remarkable natural wonder, it is essential to approach it with caution due to the extreme heat and potentially hazardous gases. Visitors are advised to maintain a safe distance and adhere to any safety precautions in place.
The crater has also sparked scientific interest, serving as a research site for studying extreme environments and the behavior of microorganisms in such extreme conditions. Scientists have discovered unique forms of life thriving in the hostile environment around the crater, adding to its scientific significance.
The Darvaza Gas Crater is a testament to the unexpected beauty and power of nature. Its perpetual flames and mysterious allure make it an unforgettable destination for those seeking a truly extraordinary and otherworldly experience.