Yesterday, I complained about the heat in Arizona. Today I get a note from my son who is backpacking through central Asia. He’s seen the Gates of Hell in Turkmenistan. He was in Darvaza, in the Karakorum Desert and saw the fire pit.
In 1971, a drilling rig looking for oil found natural gas instead. The entire rig, drills, trucks and people suddenly sunk into a giant sink hole. The hole was part of a cavern that was bottomless and filled with gas. To prevent the entire area from destruction, the remaining crew set the pit on fire.
It’s been burning for 37 years, adding even more heat to the Turkmenistan desert. In the daytime, it’s a crater in the flat and seamless desert. At night, the fire in the pit can be seen for miles. The photo below is by John H. Bailey, who is a photographer, and not my son.