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Turkmenistan, its president commanded: “Shut the door of hell.”

head TurkmenistanGurbanguly Berdimuhamedov announced that he would close the “Gate of Hell,” a crater in the Karakum Desert that has been burning for decades. “We are losing important natural resources from which we can reap significant profits to improve the well-being of the population,” the president said, speaking on television, according to reports from the BBC. The Turkmen leader ordered technicians to “find a solution to put out the fire,” citing health and environmental problems as well. Among the main tourist attractions of Turkmenistan, the Darvaza crater is still a mystery.

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According to Turkmen geologists, it was formed in the 60s, but only in the 80s did it begin to emit flames. Some blame the 1971 Soviet excavation that would have ended poorly, but there is still uncertainty about when exactly the “Gate of Hell” began burning and why. This is the second time that President Berdymukhamedov has ordered experts to look for a way to put out the flames in the crater, having already done so unsuccessfully in 2010.

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Harold Manning

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