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Tags Current Affairs

Gateway to Hell

Date: 12 January 2022 Tags: Geography & Environment

Issue

President of Turkmenistan has asked experts to find ways to extinguish fire at the famed Darwaza Gas crater, dubbed as Gateway to Hell.

 

Background

Darwaza Gas Crater is a gas crater burning continuously, which has become a sought-after tourist attraction over the years.

 

Details

The crater is located in the middle of the Karakum Desert about 160 miles north of capital Ashgabat and has been burning at melting temperatures for decades now.

 

Occurrence

  • The crater was formed in 1960s when a drilling mishap during gas extraction gave rise to the giant hole emitting gas.

  • The gas reserve found here is one of the largest in the world. The extraction created a vacuum pocket, forcing the soil to collapse into a crater.

  • The scientists lit fire in the 1980s to the crater to prevent the poisonous gas from leaking. It was believed that the problem will resolve within weeks.

  • However, the fire has continued to burn even after 50 years as continuous fuel is being supplied from below the surface.

 

Reasons for closure

  • It has been a famous tourist spot in the country. The burning has however affected the health of people living near the vicinity.

  • The President believes that large amount of precious resource is being wasted, which otherwise could have been sold and revenue earned.

 

Effects of burning

The burning of the gas is creating a negative effect on the environment. People are forced to inhale dangerous fumes.

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