Can the “Gates of Hell” Be Extinguished in Turkmenistan?

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The Quest to Extinguish the Flames of Turkmenistan’s Terrifying ‘Gates of Hell’ Firepit

by Jane Recker/Smithsonianmag.com

For more than five decades, a massive pit of fire has been burning in Turkmenistan’s Karakum Desert, and the country’s President Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov wants to put an end to it, says Brandon Specktor for Live Science. On January 8, the leader appeared on a state-run TV channel, urging officials to “find a solution to extinguish the fire” of the large burning crater known as the “Gates of Hell.

“We are losing valuable natural resources for which we could get significant profits and use them for improving the well-being of our people,” says Berdymukhamedov during the program, per the Agence France-Presse (AFP).

It’s unclear whether a viable solution currently exists. Explorer George Kourounis, the first man to descend to the bottom of the pit in November 2013, tells Sarah Durn of Atlas Obscura that even seemingly logical fixes might prove futile.

“As I was digging into the ground [at the bottom of the crater] to gather these soil samples, fire would start coming out of the hole I just freshly dug because it was creating new paths for the gas to come out of the crater,” Kourounis says. Read More:

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5 COMMENTS

  1. issue in detail ??

    if U look @ the rim of the crater (pushed up) U can see where it fraked as the liquid/hot plasma exited the well boring.. that mising 65 foot carater was vaporized.

    a similar event w deep horizon also occured.. BP did come i and drill relife wells but the area is still ozzing gas..

    edgerton and conoco used atomiks around pioneer colorado in the 1950’s.. the did develop a gas field but the pratice was abondened…

    the big quizz question? U never see piks of the russian fields or where they are located.. –> the tap @ rock springs wyo is simply a buried candy cane well head.. –> i watched U-Pak bring in the pipes and unload w a derrik crane on a 30 acre field as they ran a new gas line/trenched (parallel to I-80)… to misollua; presure from the well pushes all the way north to the refinery

  2. I have not studied this issue in detail, but if the gas outlet there has a tree structure, then you can use the old classic Soviet method: drill a well (surveyors will take a picture of the soil structure), lay a compact atomic geo-projectile and shift the layers of soil with an underground explosion, seal the gas outlet. Let them study the structure of this infernal well with georadar and develop an engineering solution. I don’t see anything complicated there.

  3. A shaft drilled from the side and filled with World Trade Center fire extinguishers and filling cabinets is the only way to seal that formation.
    A peaceful use of filling cabinets.

  4. one of the original “DeepHorizons”

    Russians were drilling for mantel gas.. one of 5 that exploded.. the others were up in siberia ??

    its were Gazprom gets their endless supply of Nat Gas..

    the only one close (US)is in Rock Springs Wyo and a fraction of the russian dpeths.. it came in around 20,000 feet.. U an drive by the well head on I -80; the pipeline goes up thru rawlins and into a refinery around missoula; Natural Gas Liquids – 20 inch line… the well was drilled by Bill Barret group w a dual 4000 hp drive train…

    DOE ordered 12 wells/pilot..six were drilled – the other wells are around Pioneer Colorado / Williams and feed the Ruby Pipeline or exit at Baggs Colorado to the conoco philips @ enid Ok…

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