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posted by martyb on Sunday January 09, @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 corey on Sunday January 09, @10:28PM (1 child)

    by corey (2202) Subscriber Badge on Sunday January 09, @10:28PM (#1211332)

    Interesting thought.

    My thought is, there wouldn’t be any need for a power station in the desert. It’s 260km from the capital. Might be better to build a solar plant.

    Maybe be best if they put the fire out (just fill in with dirt I’d say), then extract the methane to sell.

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  • (Score: 2) by Immerman on Tuesday January 11, @04:28AM

    by Immerman (3985) on Tuesday January 11, @04:28AM (#1211706)

    It's a big flaming hole, it's presumably *already* filled in with dirt. But air (or gas) can pass through all the tiny gaps in the dirt fairly easily, allowing flames to burn on the surface (see: every sand-, gravel-, or crushed-glass filled novelty gas fireplace).

    Natural gas only stays in the ground if it gets trapped under large domes of unbroken stone. And once we punch a hole through that stone - usually to get at the oil that also gets trapped underneath, then the gas will flow up and out unless the hole is patched with something non-permeable. And that rock dome tends to be pretty deep underground, meaning that to stop the leak in a collapsed well you'll have to first dig all the way down to it so that it can be patched. Without creating any sparks that could start the fire going again.