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  • I don't want to get too bogged out on the etymology

  • But if you're gonna name a place the door to hell

  • it had better look something like this in this case I think we can all agree the

  • name fits

  • The door to hell otherwise known as the Darvaza gas crater isn't exactly a

  • natural phenomenon nature merely provided the raw materials for what

  • humans managed to turn into a decades-long environmental freak show

  • and while it's origin is somewhat shrouded in mystery the science behind

  • it is not it was nineteen seventy one when a group of Soviet petroleum

  • geologists set out to explore the Karakum desert in Turkmenistan

  • mostly they were looking for oil fields but the region is also rich in natural

  • gas because oil and gas are both the results of the same geologic process the

  • very slow very intense compression of ancient organic material over time

  • though there has never been an official report about the events that followed

  • most believe that during the initial exploration of the area

  • the geologists were so encouraged by their estimates of how much natural gas

  • there was that they quickly set up some drilling rigs but unbeknownst to them

  • they drilled right over a big cavernous pocket of natural gas and it collapsed

  • soon after the operation began the ground gave way taking with it their

  • equipment and creating an enormous sinkhole more than 60 meters in diameter

  • and 20 meters deep

  • miraculously no one is reported to have been killed but there was another

  • problem natural gas is composed primarily of methane a colorless

  • odorless gas that while not toxic can displace oxygen and easily make it hard

  • to breathe when it's nearby and then there's that thing that we like so much

  • about methane in the first place

  • it loves to explode, it can create a combustible mixture in the air at levels

  • as low as 5 % + even though we had yet to pick up on the fact of global warming

  • back then it's worth pointing out that methane is a greenhouse gas 20 times

  • more potent than carbon dioxide. That's why in some oil and gas drilling

  • operations were natural gas is released if it can't be captured it just burned

  • off in a process called flaring

  • yes this still releases tons of co2 but co2 is way less bad than methane

  • anyway those seventies Soviet scientists were left with a choice

  • one continue to let the dangerous methane vent into the atmosphere putting the

  • local population and environment at risk or two light the crater on fire burning

  • off all the gas and what scientists predicted would take a few weeks they

  • chose the latter and 42 years later the crater is still burning. Today the door

  • to hell has become something of a -

  • tourist attraction creating an eerie glow that can be seen at night from

  • kilometers away and releasing a terrible

  • [Eggy?] smell that has nothing to do with natural gas which remember has no smell

  • but is instead produced by hydrogen sulfide in the ground; Can't wait to go

  • there myself and if you want to visit you probably have some time the fire

  • will continue to burn until all the natural gas deposits feeding the flame

  • have been combusted

  • and no one knows when that's going to happen Do you have an idea for a weird place

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I don't want to get too bogged out on the etymology

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B1 US gas natural gas methane natural crater door

The Door to Hell

  • 6 0
    joey joey posted on 2021/05/19
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