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Behold, I plunge my hands in fire! I feel no heat!
August 3, 2014 6:49 AM   Subscribe


 
...but the theory most widely accepted involves a Soviet expedition to explore for gas.

What is it about the idea of "Soviet expedition for natural gas accidentally opens doorway to hell" that seems completely, utterly plausible?

Also...As we all know, it was Lin Ye Tang who opened the Doorway to Hell.
posted by Thorzdad at 7:07 AM on August 3 [3 favorites]


Where can't bacteria be found these days?
posted by Slackermagee at 7:10 AM on August 3 [4 favorites]


We have a previously on this.
posted by JPD at 7:15 AM on August 3


Exploration like this is the kind of thing that drones were made for. Though you have to admit being able to say "I've been to hell and back" is kind of cool.
posted by tommasz at 7:22 AM on August 3


Few foreigners have seen the crater in the heart of the Karakum, one of the world's largest deserts, although Turkmen authorities are hoping to change that as they seek ways to bolster tiny visitor numbers to the former Soviet republic.


Here's a thought; they should build a highway to the crater to improve access. They could call it...well, you know.

(Or else the Bon Scott freeway)
posted by TedW at 7:58 AM on August 3 [16 favorites]


So what's "Danger Zone" in Turkmeni?
posted by thelonius at 8:09 AM on August 3


"So what's 'Danger Zone' in Turkmeni?"

Yeah, we're not doing phrasing anymore, it's not a thing.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 8:13 AM on August 3 [8 favorites]


Trust me - a July day in that desert and you don't need to see the crater to know you are near hell.
posted by JPD at 8:25 AM on August 3 [2 favorites]


If you dig a hole deep enough, everyone will want to jump into it.
posted by Faint of Butt at 8:27 AM on August 3 [1 favorite]


But if it's really deep they will just come out the other side, and then oscillate around the center.
posted by Dr Dracator at 8:30 AM on August 3 [1 favorite]


The aim [of Kouronis's descent] was to collect soil samples from the bottom of the pit, to try to establish whether life can exist in such a harsh environment.

That makes no sense. The thing is 69 meters wide, 30 meters deep. The rigging they used to lower the guy to the bottom could easily have been used to grapple up some soil from the bottom and take other measurements. We're doing it on Mars. So sending down the guy is obviously a George Kouronis/National Geographic publicity stunt.
posted by beagle at 8:32 AM on August 3 [6 favorites]


Yeah this was pure visual.
posted by stbalbach at 8:45 AM on August 3 [1 favorite]


So what's "Danger Zone" in Turkmeni?

Gurpgork.
posted by Sys Rq at 8:53 AM on August 3 [6 favorites]


Behold, I plunge my hands in fire! I feel no heat!

Sounds like this guy had the right engravings.
posted by Pope Guilty at 8:57 AM on August 3 [2 favorites]


Needs the batshitinsane tag.
posted by Rumple at 9:39 AM on August 3 [1 favorite]


My photos from a visit in 2010

It really is one of the most incredible places I've ever been. Words can't adequately convey the combination of heat, noise and sheer unbelievable spectacle.
posted by Major Clanger at 9:43 AM on August 3 [23 favorites]


"you can drive up, get out of your car, walk over to the edge, and jump right in, if you want," he says. "The choice is yours. And I'm so far the only person who has actually done that".

Yeah strange that.
posted by billiebee at 9:59 AM on August 3 [2 favorites]


When contacted, Ms. Summers said, "You can go ahead and find another slayer to monitor that thing. You know what that desert heat will do to my complexion?"
posted by Ber at 10:15 AM on August 3 [7 favorites]


"So what's 'Danger Zone' in Turkmeni?"

The best I could find was хатарлы зона.
posted by hat_eater at 11:33 AM on August 3


...and all I got was this lousy t-shirt.
posted by Pudhoho at 12:24 PM on August 3


Wow, those are amazing photos. This reminds me of Centralia, though I think there it's coal burning under the ground, not natural gas.

From the CTV News link:
"Foreign tourists who visit the burning crater feel mixed emotions -- awe at the sight but also at the profligacy of the Turkmen people, who have simply let the gas burn for so many years," said 40-year-old Begli Atayev, who works at a travel agency in Ashgabat.
How would you put out a fire of this size? Could you fill the whole crater with cement, maybe?
posted by daisyk at 1:04 PM on August 3


How would you put out a fire of this size?

You could just keep bulldozing sand into it. Use remote-controlled dozers if there's unstable soil at the edge. It might take a year or two, but it could be done. My guess is that the locals just want it to keep burning for the tourist dollars.
posted by beagle at 3:11 PM on August 3 [1 favorite]


Or it could be that it's just really cost-prohibitive to put out and it's contained and in the middle of nowhere.
posted by ckape at 3:37 PM on August 3 [1 favorite]


Yeah. As someone who has actually been there the idea its being left alone as some sort of tourist attraction is really laughable. For starters its 100s of km from anywhere and there is no infrastructure at all there. No entrance fees, no admissions. Not even any locals. We actually camped on the side of the road the night we saw it.

I went to Turkmenistan in '05. I believe there were 1500 tourist visas given out that year.
posted by JPD at 3:42 PM on August 3 [3 favorites]


*My guess is that the locals just want it to keep burning for the tourist dollars.
posted by beagle at 3:11 PM on August 3*

They should set up a tourist trade there based on symbolic visits to deceased relatives
posted by knoyers at 4:30 PM on August 3 [3 favorites]


How many rednecks and how how many bud lite trucks would it take to put.this.out.
posted by humanfont at 4:45 PM on August 3


Major Clanger: "My photos from a visit in 2010

It really is one of the most incredible places I've ever been. Words can't adequately convey the combination of heat, noise and sheer unbelievable spectacle.
"

Well, if this isn't the most badass selfie ever, I don't know what is.
posted by Reverend John at 7:47 PM on August 3 [1 favorite]


Did I follow that correctly? This fire was possibly started on purpose? But no one is sure?
posted by double bubble at 8:50 PM on August 3


GS results for "turkmenistan site:en.wikipedia.org":
* Turkmenistan
* Door to Hell

Anyway, I'm not so much sure they're thinking of a Disney-style theme park around the place, just a way to get tourist dollars into the country, which will probably mostly be spent in cities or visiting other sights. They seem to be gradually getting the hang of this in the post-Niyazov era, even if they remain a country with a severe ex-Soviet headache.

This fire was possibly started on purpose?

It's actually a pretty common way to deal with well problems (see: Red Adair, etc.). And many oil wells burn off excess natural gas as a normal part of production, though this is becoming less common as natural gas infrastructure has improved, making it more valuable.
posted by dhartung at 12:04 AM on August 4


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