The Door to Hell – Darvaz

Gateway to Hell
Gateway to Hell

In 1971, a drilling rig was looking for natural gas near the town of Darvaz. The rig struck a massive underground cavern, which collapsed, pulling the rig into the ground and releasing the natural gas. As a safety measure, it was decided to ‘burn’ off the gas to keep the poisonous fumes from spreading. The crater continues to burn today.

Depending on the source, Darvas and the crater are either in Turkmenistan (wikipedia) or Uzbekistan (

And it gets weirder from there.

An unconfirmed rumor is that the local government there claims the crater was caused by a meteor strike. Also, the name of the town Darvaz or Derweze actually means “gate”, which is odd since the town dates back to before the 1971 drilling accident.

Door to Hell Crater on Google Earth
Door to Hell Crater on Google Earth

The coordinates to the crater are said to 40°15′8″N 58°26′23″E, which can be found with Google Earth. A round crater can been seen at the location. By following the coordinates, it appears the crater is in Uzbekistan, while the town on Darvaz is in Turkmenistan, actually making both of the sources above correct.

But what is this thing?

It is similar to Mel’s Hole outside Ellensburg Washington State, except Mel’s Home was never reported to be on fire and the Darvaz Hole was never said to bring dead pets back to life. Still, they are oddly reminiscent.

Both are Devil’s Holes, Doors to Hell, Gates to Hell in their naming, as mentioned above, the one on fire being located near a town that’s name means ‘gate’. Was there a gate or portal there before the burning crater that is there now?

And why the two stories, one from local government officials and one generally expected? Are both made up to cover up another explanation?

Video below of the Door to Hell from

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3 thoughts on “The Door to Hell – Darvaz

  1. i looked on google maps and when i searched for darvaz it directed me to a city in tajikistan. the hole you are describing is in turkmenistan according to your coordinates when plugged into google maps. unless i am it would appear the two places you are desribing are about 800 miles apart. i wouldn’t call that “nearby”. as a side note the geography around the city in tajikistan looks like a crater much more so than that around the hole at the coodinates you gave. you might wanna check that out.

  2. The coordinates 40°15′8″N 58°26′23″E take me straight to the ‘crater’.

    I addressed the discrepancy in country and location in the article.

    The city near the coordinates is listed ‘darvaza’, not darvaz.

    The light blue-green to the north west could be the result of mining, supporting the drilling theory.

    All this add to the mystery to me.

    Maybe someone can fund a Whales In Space field trip to Turkmenistan and I’ll check it out.

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