Points of Interest
Door to Hell Derweze in Karakum desert - Turkmenistan
View Door to Hell Derweze in Karakum desert - Turkmenistan in a larger map
The story of Derweze (DARVAZA) Gas Crater starts in 1971 In Turkmenistan, when a a Soviet drilling rig accidentally punched into a massive underground natural gas cavern causing the ground to collapse and the entire drilling rig to fall in.
The hole is the outcome not of nature but of an industrial accident.
Door to Hell- Derweze in local language - Turkmen language means "The Gate", also known as Darvaza and localy -"door to hell" is located near a Turkmenistan village of about 350 inhabitants, located in the middle of the Kara-Kum desert, about 260 km north from Ashgabat.
This crater in the Karakum desert in Turkmenistan, is a hole 328 feet wide that has been on fire and for almost 40 years it has constantly been active.To most attractive to be seen is during the night when the crater can be seen glowing for miles around.
The ground beneath the drilling rig collapsed, leaving a large hole with a diameter of about 70 metres (230 ft)
The Derweze area is rich in natural gas.
To avoid a potential environmental catastrophe, the Soviets set the hole on fire. Next to capturing the gas, flaring is safer and friendlier to the environment than releasing the methane into the atmosphere, as methane is a relatively potent greenhouse gas with a high global warming potential of 72 (averaged over 20 years) or 25 (averaged over 100 years).
The crater hasn’t stopped burning since.
The settlement of Darvaza (Derweze in Turkmen) is located in the Central part of the Kara-Kum desert some 260 km from Ashgabat to the north. On the way to Darvaza lies the Kara-Kum desert, withs its moving sands and its typical sparse vegetation of Saksaul, Acacia and Kandym bushes.
The population of Darvaza is 350 inhabitants. Most of them are Turkmens of the Teke tribe. The word Darvaza is translated as the "Gates". At the Darvaza settlement many people continue their half-nomadic lifestyle by setting up yurts in front of their simple houses. A yurt (in Turkmen Ak Oy) is a traditional Turkmen dwelling of round shape made of a wooden framework and covered with a felts called Koshma. The diametre of a common yurt is from 4 m for a simple "Gara Oy" to a festive and luxurious 9 m "Ak Oy" set up only for special occasions. The yurt has a round hole in the middle of roof for ventilation. Lighting is natural / through this hole, by lamp, candle or by generator. A Yurt takes 3-4 hours to assemble or disassemble. The Turkmen nomads have been using yurts since the 6 century. It matches well with local climatic peculiarities. The microclimate in yurt is favorable. It is chilly in summer and warm in winter.
Not far from the burning crater are two other craters of similar origin. These craters are not burning as the gas pressure is much weaker. At the bottom of one of these craters is light grey mud while the last crater contains a turquoise lake. This lake prevents further attempts at drilling. Not far from the burning crater are several dormant wells
The coordinates are :
WGS84 40° 15' 9.48 N, 58° 26' 21.93 E
See also other articles related with burning holes :
“Living Fire” – Life fire from Lopatari – Buzau Romania (click here)
Sources of pics and text :