Monday, May 31, 2010

Welcome to Hell

As I write this, thousands of gallons of oil billow from a hole in the earth into the Gulf of Mexico. It's an unfortunate and saddening situation, but a man-made natural disaster you're all familiar with. Did you know, though, that in Turkmenistan a similar situation happened almost 30 years ago? It happened above sea level, as opposed to a mile under water, and with natural gas, instead of oil, but the cause (human error) and scope (unstoppable leak) are factors still the same. How did they fix it? They lit the leak on fire.

The description on youtube reads:
"The Darvaza area is rich in natural gas. While drilling in 1971 geologists accidentally found an underground cavern filled with natural gas. The ground beneath the drilling rig collapsed, leaving a large hole with a diameter of about 50-100 meters. To avoid poisonous gas discharge, it was decided to burn the gas. Geologists had hoped the fire would go out in a few days but it has been burning ever since. Locals have named the cavern The Door to Hell. Next to capturing the gas, flaring is safer and friendlier to the environment than releasing the methane into the atmosphere as methane is a relatively potent greenhouse gas with a high global warming potential of 72 (averaged over 20 years) or 25 (averaged over 100 years)."
It burns still today...



  1. And thus, Del Scorcho sauce was born....

  2. The area then blossomed into a popular tourist destination, as it had become the prettiest place in Turkmenistan

  3. How you neglected to Photoshop Frodo into the screencap is beyond me.......

  4. omg, wow, how long can it go on burning? I'd never do that!

  5. A coal vein accidentally ignited in 1961, while burning trash in an old mine pit, still burns in a town called Ashland in Pennsylvania. They think it will likely burn for a few more centuries. Crazy.