Friday, June 03, 2011

The Door to Hell

Here and here.
Apparently, during the 1970s, when Turkmenistan was part of the USSR, Soviet geologists were sent into the desert to explore for natural gas, which can often be detected seeping through the sand. While drilling in one such spot, the geologists happened upon a large, cavernous space full of poisonous gas which promptly swallowed their equipment. Hoping to burn off the excess gas, perhaps to make it possible to descend into the crater, the geologists set it ablaze--and 35 years later, it's still burning.

If this little tale seems lacking in the details, it would be because no official explanation has ever been released to corroborate the story--but if it was indeed the Soviets, they weren't known for being too open with their activities anyways. Rather, it's been up to storytellers to maintain the explanation for the "Door to Hell." But fortunately for the skeptical who may want to see it for themselves, the flaming crater continues to burn today--and shows no signs of dying down anytime soon.


Steve Bates said...

Hmmm... (places hands on hips skeptically). Nonetheless..

There are YouTube videos of people digging through Arctic ice that's only about a foot or two thick, then setting on fire the methane underneath, yielding quite a bang. The bad news is not the fire potential, but the greenhouse gases released: the fact that methane in the atmosphere traps heat about 20X as efficiently as CO2.

ellroon said...

Yeah, just googling the subject brings up video and articles. It's a cause of great concern for global warming. What's really scary is that it's speeding up much faster than projected, and it shows most in the Arctic regions.

Who knew we were going to be the ones to undo civilization as we know it? /runs away screaming for her gas mask and umbrella...