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Modern Mysteries

'Gateway to Hell' fiery pit found in China

April 11, 2015 | Comment icon 18 comments



The fiery pit closely resembled a volcanic lava tube (pictured). Image Credit: USGS
Geologists have been investigating a glowing orange hole that opened up on a Chinese mountain.
The peculiar spectacle was first discovered around a week ago by builders and local villagers near Urumqi, the capital of China's Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region.

The intense heat and bright orange glow of the hole led to it being nicknamed the "Gateway to Hell", a similar moniker to the "Door to Hell" natural gas fire in Turkmenistan which has been burning continuously for over 40 years.

"The air blasting out of the hole is so hot, that if you hold a branch near to it it bursts into flames," said geologist Hu Tan. "Although it is unusual, we're pretty certain that it has been caused by the spontaneous combustion of coal."
His colleague Cao Jianwen recorded a temperature of 792 degrees Celsius.

This isn't actually the first time a pit like this has opened up in the region either, especially given that the area had once been home to an active coal mine back in the 1970s.

This one however is unlikely to be around for much longer as concerns over fumes emenating from the hole have prompted authorities to begin efforts to seal it off.

"I would not rule out that there could be similar sinkholes in this region in the future," said Jianwen.

Source: Yahoo! News | Comments (18)


Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #9 Posted by Father Merrin 7 years ago
Are we at a position to harness this heat/energy to run a power plant etc?
Comment icon #10 Posted by aquatus1 7 years ago
Not efficiently. Since coal fires don't get a lot of oxygen, they don't burn as hot as they can (3250-3500 degrees). Additionally, since it is burning out a vein underground, there is no way to determine the foundational stability of the area, so it is entirely possible for anything above it to suddenly one day just collapse into a giant sinkhole.
Comment icon #11 Posted by Sundew 7 years ago
soooooo.... real question is, how do you seal something like that off? Sealing the hole couldn't hurt, if they could cut off the oxygen supply it might eventually burn itself out, but likely it has air feeding in from more places than this opening.
Comment icon #12 Posted by mynameisachu 7 years ago
all i am hearing is that if you visit bring bbq and you will be able to cook it in a second
Comment icon #13 Posted by aquatus1 7 years ago
Sure, but in that part of China, good luck keeping the locals from appropriating the meat.
Comment icon #14 Posted by jarjarbinks 7 years ago
imagine if a terrorist drop a big bomb in that hole, it could be the end of the earth
Comment icon #15 Posted by She-ra 7 years ago
Oh yes, this is very cool. So, cool I just double posted it Sorry Still Waters! I didn't see this here.
Comment icon #16 Posted by aquatus1 7 years ago
imagine if a terrorist drop a big bomb in that hole, it could be the end of the earth It's...really just a coal fire. Not a big deal. China has the highest amount of them on Earth.
Comment icon #17 Posted by Xiccarph 7 years ago
Sure, but in that part of China, good luck keeping the locals from appropriating the meat. BBQ pork, and you'll have no issue.
Comment icon #18 Posted by TripGun 7 years ago
Fill it with trash.


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