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230ft-wide hole known as 'The Gates Of Hell' has been burning since 1971

230ft-wide hole known as 'The Gates Of Hell' has been burning since 1971

It formed during a drilling accident

While it might sound like something out of a budget horror film, the 'Gates of Hell' is a mysterious gas crater that has been burning for 52 years.

Still smouldering in Turkmenistan as one of the country's most popular tourist attractions, how Darvaza crater, aka the 'Gateway to Hell' was created is shrouded in mystery.

Some believe it was caused by a Soviet gas field drilling operation that went wrong.

It was thought a gas cavern was hit, causing the drilling rig to fall in and the earth to collapse underneath it.

The Soviets then decided to burn off the gas by setting it on fire to prevent dangerous fumes from spreading.

Local Turkmen geologists claim that the crater formed in the 1960s, but the fire only ignited two decades later in the 1980s.

Canadian explorer George Kourounis examined the crater down to the bottom in 2013 and concluded that it's not actually clear how it started at all.

The hole has burning for more than 50 years.
Matyas Rehak/Alamy

Whatever caused it, it was expected to burn off in a few weeks - but is still going strong 52 years later, leading to a crater that's 230ft wide and over 65ft deep.

In 2018, the president officially renamed it the 'Shining of Karakum' after the desert where it burns.

Attempts to put it out have been unsuccessful, but the president of Turkmenistan Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov called last year for it to be extinguished once and for all.

He said the fire is causing ecological damage and health issues and wants it out ASAP - but he has been calling for it to be extinguished since 2010.

Mr Berdymukhamedov explained that the man-made crater 'negatively affects both the environment and the health of the people living nearby'.

The president of Turkmenistan wants the fire put out.
imageBROKER / Alamy

In other hole news, divers recently made a depressing discovery after finally reaching bottom of Great Blue Hole in Belize.

The huge hole in the ocean is located approximately 60 miles off the coast Central-American country and descends more than 400 feet into the depths.

For a long time, divers were unable to explore too much of the hole as they didn't have the technology needed to tackle its depths.

But that changed with the advancement of technology - and the hole catching the interest of billionaire, Richard Branson.

The Virgin founder embarked on an expedition to the hole when diver Fabien Cousteau travelled there to capture high-quality photos and videos of the mysteries hidden beneath the surface.

Lying at the bottom of the Great Blue Hole was, of course, some rubbish: namely a a two-litre plastic bottle and long-lost holiday snaps on a GoPro.

Featured Image Credit: Matyas Rehak/Alamy imageBROKER / Alamy

Topics: News, Technology, Science, Travel