▲ Up
22:20 20-11-2018
АКИpress CA-News Tazabek Turmush
Turkmenistan's infernal gas pit to reportedly open door for science
Central Asia | science | 09:39, 18 July 2014 | 1331

AKIPRESS.COM - Darvaza The Darvaza Crater, an infernal gas pit burning in Turkmenistan’s forbidding Karakum Desert, has long piqued the curiosity of the few tourists who make it into the country. Now it turns out that the famous furnace – the product of a search for natural gas gone horribly wrong – could be an untapped store of knowledge for mankind, EurasiaNet's Chris Rickleton said.

Being the product of an accident, the so-called “Door to Hell” is perhaps not what the President of gas-rich Turkmenistan wants his country to be known for, but it has been getting a lot of attention lately.

Recently, it attracted one explorer who likes to live on the edge. According to a July 16 story by National Geographic, last November “explorer and storm chaser” George Kourounis became the first person to descend into the bottom of the fiery pit, where he collected soil samples.

The history of the hotspot is somewhat contested, but most agree that the hole was the result of a gas expedition.

Geologists started drilling a borehole to prospect for gas at this spot in 1971, according to Turkmen geologists. The boring equipment suddenly drilled through into an underground cavern, and a deep sinkhole formed. The equipment tumbled through but fortunately no one was killed. Fearing that the crater would emit poisonous gases, the scientists took the decision to set it alight, thinking that the gas would burn out quickly and this would cause the flames to go out.

Decades later, the hole is still burning bright, which makes Kourounis’ decision to conduct research inside it unusual. He described his jump into hell:

“When you first set eyes on the crater, it's like something out of a science fiction film. You've got this vast, sprawling desert with almost nothing there, and then there's this gaping, burning pit... The heat coming off of it is scorching. The shimmer from the distortion of it warping the air around it is just amazing to watch, and when you're downwind, you get this blast of heat that is so intense that you can't even look straight into the wind.”

The mission was not just a jaunt. Kourounis ultimately wants to understand what life forms have survived in the crater and, as a result, whether life “could survive similar conditions elsewhere in the universe.”

Related news:

Turkmenistan considers turning infernal gas pit into tourist attraction

17:42 Prime Minister gives multiple orders to tackle air pollution in Bishkek17:42 Road accidents and death rate decreased in Kyrgyzstan since year start17:29 Kazakhstan, Albania sign protocol of cooperation between the Foreign Ministries16:34 Kilogram gets a new definition16:26 Kyrgyzstan, Latvia discuss cooperation prospects16:16 Kyrgyzstan schoolchildren contribute to giant postcard on Swiss glacier raising awareness about climate change15:58 World Bank allocates $75mln for modernization of secondary education in Kazakhstan15:58 Tashkent to host export exhibition Made in Uzbekistan15:55 Kyrgyz MPs in Turkey to attend TurkPA session15:52 Kazakhstan in top 10 countries of European region with high child suicide rate15:48 Kyrgyz athlete wins Asian Wrestling Championship among schoolgirls15:43 Safe City: Road cameras in Bishkek recorded 200,000 traffic violations with fines totaling 206 million soms15:25 Financial industry workers receive highest salary in Tajikistan14:58 Atambayev to remain in politics to avert ‘return to Bakiyevs’ way’14:50 President of Uzbekistan receives US Congress delegation14:46 Atambayev on scandal around Sooronbai Jeenbekov’s electoral fund14:40 You'll need a reindeer to get to this Airbnb in Mongolia14:36 2000 newborns in Kyrgyzstan to receive gifts in honor of World Children's Day: Health Ministry14:36 Rights defenders call on Uzbekistan to stop harassing human rights defenders14:33 Atambayev praises Mirziyoyev’s contribution into regional cooperation
© AKIpress News Agency - 2001-2018. All rights reserved
Republication of any material is prohibited without a written agreement with AKIpress News Agency. Any citation must be accompanied by a hyperlink to akipress.com.
Our address:
Moskovskaya str. 189, Bishkek, the Kyrgyz Republic
e-mail: english@akipress.org, akipressenglish@gmail.com;
Tel/Fax: +996(312)65-03-06