Monday, March 21, 2011

Places that Inspire : The Door to Hell

Originally, geologists had expected the gasses from the cavern to burn for a few days, but thus far, the pit has been burning for over 40 years.
Derweze, Turkmenistan, is rich with natural gasses. In 1971, some geologists came upon a cavern filled with some of these gasses. The whole thing collapsed, leaving a gaping hole. The gasses were potentially poisonous and to prevent it from escaping into the atmosphere, they decided to burn it off.
It is a tourist attraction as a pit of fire that never stops burning. The people of Derweze had decided to leave it burning, since it was less harmful to the environment than letting the gasses escape into the atmosphere (methane is one of the greenhouse gasses with a high global warming potential).
The locals were the ones who named the cavern “The Door to Hell”.

How can a cavern still be burning after 40 years? That is a big question to ask if you want to get a story out of this. Is it really a gateway to Hell, fuelled by eternally burning bodies? Or maybe there is a whole other reason for it, a conspiracy using the beliefs of the natives to cover up the burning of something, or someone. Perhaps it is kept alive by spirits who want to deliver a message.
Then again, maybe there’s just a whole lot of gasses. But what happens when it dries up?

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