Epic name isn’t it ? Well, such is the name giving to Darvaza gas crater, a natural gas field that collapsed due to unfortunate bad maneuver in Turkmenistan around 1971. In order to prevent a possible methane gas leak all over the place, geologists set the gas on fire.
The engineers first estimated that gas would take a few weeks in order to empty itself; rather, the earth was full of it and up until today that gas never stopped from leaking and the fire is still breathing as alive as ever.
This only shows that that earth is a goldmine of gas and that the country is eager to take advantage of it somehow… obviously. As we discuss briefly its history we are going to tackle its potential as a touristic attraction and, unfortunately, its inevitable impact on its local environment.
Origins and Cause:
The origins of the cause are ambiguous because neither the Soviet nor the Turkmen take responsibility of the incident. There is no concrete evidence as to which party is responsible. Consequently, so many estimate the date around the 1971 to be the date.
Also, the Soviet are mostly to blame for their miscalculation when they started first drilling that land for resources but turned out to contain a “shit” load of gas that burst out as if the land was holding a massive orgasm and the Soviet tickled its G-point. The land’s orgasm lasted for nearly 5 decades and it still ejaculates its gas the same strength it first did. In order to prevent any unwilling toxic leak from the gas, geologists set it on fire (The hole now is on fire, we get it).
Good or bad idea is not the issue since there was no other alternative at that time and nobody could have envisioned the fire would still be active for nearly 50 years. The damage is done, and no one still wants to take responsibility for it. So the country, Turkmenistan, has to heal itself and tries to find a solution to turn it into something profitable and opposite to wasted. As a result, since the crater looks like a breathing volcano, the government turned the site into a touristic site attracting many curious people around the world.
You need to know that the crater is located in the heart of a deserted land. Which means there are no boutiques, no parking lot, no fences to prevent anyone from diving in the flames if want to (hot jokes over here) yet, it is this simplicity that gives it a more raw and naturalistic vibes.
Imagine coming to the area and parked a few miles back and sit there, it almost feels like a hot tempered picnic… which is good. A wind of change to the green-ish lands and white and snowy environment is something some tourists are willing to take risk for the love of adventure.
The crater is 260 Km away from Ashgabat, capital of Turkmenistan, and is situated in the middle Karakum desert around a village called Derweze. The crater has a depth of 30m and is 70m in its diameter. At nighttime, the crater shines beautifully most because of the natural contrast it draws with its continuous fire breathing in a stars-decorated sky.
Mostly, the damage is local because it affects the gas stored in the heart of the land that has been saved for God-knows when. Obviously, the unstopped leak is synonymous to a wasted goldmine… which is bad for economy.
The burning that is still ongoing might as well have an impact on the development of other kind of gas surrounding the area that is highly critical for the natural resources of the country. Hopefully the government might find a solution to solve the leak.
In the meantime, let us enjoy this wonderful bonfire in the middle of the desert under a dark, beautifully lit sky.