I will never ever forget it," he said. "Going out on the rope, looking down, surrounded by flames felt like laundry being dried out on the line," Kourounis said. Ward spent his time at the Gates barbecuing dinner and drinking beer. Kourounis first tried to get permission from Turkmenistan to collect soil samples from the crater in 2009. Yorkshire pensioner gives thoughts on Tier 3, Breathtaking moment daring diver jumps off 35-metre-high cliff, Hit-and-run driver causes fatal four-car accident killing one person, Former Chancellor George Osborne on PM's pandemic approach, Entire contentious 60 Minutes interview between Trump and Stahl, 'Killer dad' records video apologizing to kids after shooting wife, CCTV footage shows Joel Osei entering building of dancer he poisoned, Stephen Barclay warns a Covid Christmas won't be like normal, IN FULL: Nicola Sturgeon lays out her five Tier restrictions, Moment murderer Craig Savage's 'fake pity party' gave him away. The Canadian-born explorer brings to mind a distant cousin of Indiana Jones. "Stepping off the crater walls and putting all your weight on the rope was one one of the most frightening things I've ever done," Kourounis said. For the birds, the Gates is ideal for hunting moths attracted by the glow of the fire. Visit Insider's homepage for more stories. Welcome to Derweze in Turkmenistan - or, as the locals have called it, 'The Door to Hell'. Looking for smart ways to get more from life? "It can be very difficult to operate there, especially if you're bringing a TV crew in.". "I'm the guy I guess who knows the most about this crater.". since. As natural gas is mainly made from methane, which sucks up oxygen and makes it hard to breathe, there was a real concern not only for wildlife but also for people living in the nearby village of Derweze. Photo: Stock Photos from Darkydoors/Shutterstock, Photo: Stock Photos from Thiago B Trevisan/Shutterstock, Photo: Stock Photos from Lockenes/Shutterstock, Massive Ancient Underground City Once Housed 20,000 People, Haunting Beauty of a Mysterious Frozen Crater in Northern Siberia, Oddly Shaped Lava Formations Look Like a Mass of Twisted Bodies, Dramatic Photo Captures Rare Sight of 65-Foot-Tall Lava Dome in Hawaii. The 25 least-visited countries in the world, The 30 best places to visit in the world, ranked, 13 of the largest abandoned cities and ghost towns around the world, and the eerie stories behind them, Take a look inside the famously creepy Winchester House, which has 160 rooms, staircases that lead to nowhere, and doors that open into walls, The Darvaza crater, a fiery gas crater in Turkmenistan, is also known as the "Gates of Hell.". He was also outfitted with his own internal supply of oxygen. Instead, their heavy rig was situated on top of a large pocket of natural gas that couldn't support that immense weight and soon collapsed. We are no longer accepting comments on this article. ... they believe the Gates and two other nearby craters formed as a result of water movements under the Karakum Desert. Kourounis keeps the Guinness World Record plaque he received above his desk. In April 2010 the country's president, Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedow, visited the site and ordered that the hole should be closed but this is yet to happen. There's been a couple of other people that have tried," Kourounis said, and they've contacted him about the crater. We are no longer accepting comments on this article. Locals have suitably dubbed it the ‘Door To Hell’, officially it’s known as the Darvaza Gas Crater. Vistors usually arrive by dusk in order to set up camp, prepare dinner before dark, and shake out their stuff for spiders and scorpions. "It took every bit of courage I had to do that.". On the edge: Two people stand and look into the burning hole, which has become known as 'The Door to Hell', Illuminating: The hole in Derweze, Turkmenistan, is 70 metres wide and the flames within light up the sky, Light show: A spectacular view of the flames burning inside the crater in the heart of the Karakum Desert, Dramatic: The raging fire inside the crater has been burning for more than 40 years, Hot: A closer view of the fire inside the hole, which locals have named 'The Door to Hell', Fiery: The blaze began when geologists decided to burn off natural gas they discovered while drilling at the site. In the middle of the Karakum Desert, Central Turkmenistan, Central Asia. The site collapsed, taking their equipment along with it—and the event triggered the crumbly sedimentary rock of the desert to collapse in other places too, creating a domino-effect that resulted in several open craters by the time all was said and done. It is a crater made by … The views expressed in the contents above are those of our users and do not necessarily reflect the views of MailOnline. The Darvaza gas crater, nicknamed by locals " The Door to Hell," or " The Gates of Hell," definitely falls into the latter category—and its sinister burning flames are just the half of it. However, as of today, the Gates of Hell still burn brightly and at night its wicked orange glow can be seen for miles. Kourounis didn't have long to take in the view. Among those adventurers is Johnny Ward, an Irish blogger. After visiting the crater in 2010, Turkmenistan's president Kurbanguly Berdymukhamedov, worried that the fire would threaten the country's ability to develop nearby gas fields, ordered local authorities to come up with a plan for filling the crater in. They are the best form of transport in this arid ocean of sand, Long way down: The hole was formed in 1971 when ground beneath a drilling rig collapsed, Never-ending: Geologists hoped the fire would use all the gas in the hole within days, but it is still burning today. Interested in Turkmenistan? "At night, flocks of birds will fly in and around the crater," Kourounis said. Karakumy, IPA: [kərɐˈkumɨ];), is a desert in Central Asia.Its name means Black Sand in Turkic languages, in reference to the dark soil that lies beneath the sandy surface of much of the desert. Ancient crocodiles swam from Africa to Spain and lived in the Mediterranean six MILLION years ago. This actually has value to the country now as their little flaming Disney World.". Alternatively, some companies offer more structured tours of the surrounding area, with the Darvaza crater included (such as this tour, by The Geographical Society of New South Wales). It is now the prime tourist destination in Turkmenistan. Locals have suitably dubbed it the ‘Door To Hell’, officially it’s known as the Darvaza Gas Crater. Giant pit that has been on fire for 40 years. "There is no similar site elsewhere as far as we know. Keep up-to-date on: © 2020 Smithsonian Magazine. California Do Not Sell My Info He wanted to check for microscopic bacteria, believing that if life could thrive in those harsh conditions, there may be similar life on another planet. Apple's new iPhone XS and XS Max go on sale on Friday - and the biggest handset Apple has ever made is also its best (and possibly unsurprisingly, its most expensive). Read more here! Soviet geologists had claimed the area, the central Karakum Desert, for their own and believed it to be the site of massive amounts of oil. Give a Gift. Download this stock image: Fire crater, gas crater, Door to Hell Darvaza crater, Derweze or Darvaza, Karakum Desert, Daşoguz Province, Turkmenistan - E650GT from Alamy's library of millions of high resolution stock photos, illustrations and vectors. Fearing that the hole would lead to the release of poisonous gases, the team decided to burn it off. Tours can be booked through agents in Ashgabat. Kourounis returned with backing from both the National Geographic Society and the United States embassy, and even then, the expedition took a year and half to be approved. According to Hawaiian folklore, Waipio Valley contains an entrance to the lower world, Lua-o-Milu, which is now concealed with sand. "You stand at the edge of this thing, and as the wind blows across the crater, it carries that heat into you. It also attracts nearby desert wildlife—reportedly, from time to time local spiders are seen plunging into the pit by the thousands, lured to their deaths by the glowing flames. (i.imgur.com) submitted 6 years ago by ooMEAToo. It’s still burning. Artificial 'mini-lungs' grown in a lab allow scientists to watch how the coronavirus infects human cells in... Tesla raises the price of its 'Full Self-Driving' system to $10K the same week that experts call it... Stay-at-home orders do NOT stop the spread of coronavirus: Major study finds restrictions barely change the... Herby fraud: One in four samples of sage contain the leaves of other plants, study finds.
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