This from a cool site of wonderfully bizarre and awesome things and places to see in a lifetime.
This particular one is known as Darvaza Gas Crater or “the Gates of Hell”. Story goes that in 1971, a Soviet drilling rig by mistake punched into a huge underground gas cavern. The ground collapses, the entire rig falls into the hole, and poisonous fumes start leaking out at a very worrying rate. Keen to ward off an ecological nightmare, the clever Soviets set it alight. It hasn’t stopped burning since.
This is all in a desert called Karakum in Turkmenistan. Close by is a village called Derweze which has 350 occupants. I hadn’t heard of it either. But there’s this gat 328 feet wide that’s been burning for the last 38 years. Scary and kinda cool. Like why don’t they pump gallons of rocket fuel down Kimberley Hole and set it alight? Ah – you see, one shouldn’t say these things on the interweb…
Check out Atlas Obscura for other interesting oddities.