The Derweze area is rich in natural gas. While drilling in 1971 geologists accidentally found an underground cavern filled with natural gas. the ground beneath the drilling rig collapsed, leaving a large hole with a diameter of about 50-100 meters. To avoid poisonous gas discharge, it was decided to burn the gas. Locals have named the cavern The Door to Hell. Despite remnants of the drilling rig still being visible, however, official government guides will tell you that the crater was caused by a meteor strike. As Darvaza no longer has an airstrip, the crater’s site is too far from the capital to send a foam plane to put the blaze out. [Wikipedia, photos via]

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