MAY 26, 2017 8:19 AM PDT

What's in that hole?


Ever heard of the Darvaza Gas Crater, otherwise known as the Gate to Hell? Located in Turkmenistan, this sulfuric, burning hole is 69 meters wide (226 ft), and reaches a depth of 30 meters (98 ft). It formed when the Soviets were investigating a natural gas field in Derwezeen. Due to the mining, the gas field collapsed into an underground cavern, which the geologists then proceeded to light on fire in order to deter the gases from escaping. However, it didn't work quite as planned. This hole has been burning since 1971. It is now a tourist attraction, but careful not to fall in!

The Indiana Jones National Park also boasts some frightening holes. Only discovered recently, the sand dunes in the park are extremely dangerous, as shifting sands have opened up massive sinkholes. The quicksand even took the life of a six year old, who was swallowed under 11 feet of sand. The park remains indefinitely closed until geologists are able to determine the cause of the sinkholes.

Can you imagine finding a mysterious hole while building an addition onto your house, only to discover that the hole leads to an intricate cave system that used to house up to 20,000 people? Called Derinkuyu, the cave system is located in Central Turkey and was carved out of the underground rock over 3,000 years ago. The caves included built-in ventilation shafts and running water. It is thought that people used to live in the caves with their livestock for months at a time to take refuge. To see more crazy holes, watch the video!
About the Author
BA Environmental Studies
Kathryn is a curious world-traveller interested in the intersection between nature, culture, history, and people. She has worked for environmental education non-profits and is a Spanish/English interpreter.
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