If a gate to hell existed, I bet this is how it would look like. Locals from the town of Darvaz in Uzbekistan were really inspired when they named it this way.
When looking at the pictures, you’d be tempted to think this is some sort of a volcano or magma-related process, but it’s not. Geologists are actually responsible (they almost always are) for this huge burning hole that’s been lasting for 35 years already (and won’t be stopping in the near future).
So, 35 years ago, they were digging and searching for gas. Then suddenly, they found an underground cavern so wide and deep that caused all their camping and equipment to fall underground.
I can’t imagine this happening this exact way (I mean, where were they when the equipment fell?) but that’s how the story goes, and exaggerations are actually welcome.
Anyway, nobody wanted to go down there because it was filled with poisonous gas, so in order to prevent the gas from getting out, they just decided to… burn it. Gotta hand it to geologists, they always find the best solutions – it’s what I would have done too.
Andrei's background is in geophysics, and he's been fascinated by it ever since he was a child. Feeling that there is a gap between scientists and the general audience, he started ZME Science -- and the results are what you see today.