Trying to close “The Gates of Hell”

After fifty years of continuous burning, Turkmenistan officials are finally trying to close up a 230-feet wide fiery sinkhole in the Karakum Desert known hyperbolically — but only somewhat — as the “Gates of Hell.”

No one is entirely sure how the hellish pit, located about 150 miles north of the Central Asian country’s capital, started burning, according to Metro…

The rumor is that Soviet operatives went looking for natural gas deposits and found the sinkhole, which would have been filled with dangerous gas. As the theory goes, they set it on fire, thinking it would burn out pretty quickly — but couldn’t have been more wrong…

If Turkmenistan can actually figure out how to put out the half-century old fire, the US might actually be able to learn a thing or two. Turns out we have some long-term fires here, including the Centralia fire in Pennsylvania. According to, Centralia was a booming coal town about a century ago. But it was mostly abandoned after the town accidentally set an underground coal seam on fire in 1962, and it’s been burning ever since…

Give a deeper meaning to the usual explosives warning… “Fire in the hole!”

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