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posted by martyb on Sunday January 09 2022, @09:27AM   Printer-friendly
from the Red-Adair dept.

Turkmenistan's leader wants 'Gates of Hell' fire put out:

The president of Turkmenistan is calling for an end to one of the country's most notable but infernal sights — the blazing natural gas crater widely referred to as the "Gates of Hell."

The desert crater located about 260 kilometers (160 miles) north of the capital, Ashgabat, has burned for decades and is a popular sight for the small number of tourists who come to Turkmenistan, a country which is difficult to enter.

The Turkmen news site Turkmenportal said a 1971 gas-drilling collapse formed the crater, which is about 60 meters (190 feet) in diameter and 20 meters (70 feet) deep. To prevent the spread of gas, geologists set a fire, expecting the gas to burn off in a few weeks.

[...] The spectacular if unwelcome fire that has burned ever since is so renowned that state TV showed President Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov speeding around it in an off-road truck in 2019.

But Berdymukhamedov has ordered his government to look for ways to put the fire out because it is causing ecological damage and affecting the health of people living in the area, state newspaper Neitralny Turkmenistan reported Saturday.

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  • (Score: 2) by looorg on Sunday January 09 2022, @12:55PM (1 child)

    by looorg (578) on Sunday January 09 2022, @12:55PM (#1211231)

    As I recall it they have already tried to putting it out a few times but didn't manage. I guess there is always room for another attempt. That said as it is now it also serves as some kind of tourist attraction etc, so if you manage to put it out I don't think that "the big hole" is going to have the same pull as the "Gates of Hell". I guess they figure the amount of gas that is burned away is more valuable then the amounts of money that the tourists spend, after all Turkmenistan doesn't really sound like a very common tourist trap and attraction. []

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  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday January 09 2022, @01:13PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday January 09 2022, @01:13PM (#1211232)

    It's been burning away fuel that could have been burned for more productive use. It's also made the air in the area pretty bad from what I gather. I don't believe they've tried to extinguish it recently, so there may be more options available than there were then, or the government may now be willing to try things that previous governments weren't in order to extinguish it.