Highway to Hell…

This is located in Turkmenistan near the village of Derweze (also spelled Darvaze). Locally, it is actually known as the Door to Hell.

The origin of the crater is somewhat in dispute. The prevailing story is that Soviet engineers were exploring for natural gas in 1971 when they drilled into a subterranean cavern; resulting in the earth collapsing beneath the drill rig. Luckily, no fatalities were reported.
Fearing that the crater would emit poisonous gases and endanger the local villagers, the engineers decided to ignite the gas. The theory was that the gas would burn itself out in a matter of days; weeks at most. The fire has now been burning for over 40 years…

The crater is approximately 230 feet (70 meters) wide and 100 feet (30 meters) deep. Temperatures at the rim of the crater are estimated to be 122 degrees F (50 degrees C). 

This past November, Canadian explorer George Kourounis made a descent into the crater. While a thrill seeker, he went there to collect soil samples; the purpose of which was to determine if microbial life might exist there. 

Test results indicated that there were some extremophile bacteria living inside the crater; which were not found in the surrounding soil. The extreme ecosystem inside crater does support life; similar to that which is found in volcanic hot springs. It is believed that the bacteria are feeding off of the methane gas. The presence of these bizarre, microscopic organisms proves that it is possible for life to take hold in places that we might not expect. This is an encouraging small step in the long process of trying to determine if there are other planets in our universe that might also support life - even if it might only be bacteria.

sciguy18 sciguy18
56-60, M
3 Responses Aug 22, 2014

Yes! And those bacteria could evolve even further, given time.

Indeed they could.

Let's roast marshmallows. Thanks for all the interesting oddities you post. I count on you for that, Hotstuff.

That's a long way to go just to roast marshmallows - and you'd need a really long stick. As far as being known for "oddities", I guess it fits my personality...

I appreciate your oddness, better than run of the mill sameness. *noogie* I miss that noogie gesture.

That is so cool!!!
hee hee