John Bradley's pics of the mouth of Hell have been surfacing in various spots around the interweb recently.
But I thought it would be only fair to credit him for his work. His site is here, and you should go visit. He takes great pics.
These, however, are something else again.
Today is the day when we're all supposed to turn off our lights for an hour to stop global warming, or somesuch tokenistic nonsense.
Why is it tokenistic? Because in the desert of Turkmenistan in Central Asia, the mouth of Hell is burning:
Yes, that is an open crater in the ground, on fire. This is located not far from Darvaza in Turkmenistan. The backstory is that in the Fifties, Soviet miners drilled into this cavity while looking for natural gas or oil.
None of them wanted to go in and explore in case there was poisonous gas present. So instead, they decided to burn out any poisonous gas first. The fire has been continuous for decades.
See the two dots at the crater's edge below? They're people.
This shot might give a better perspective on how big this is. Factor in the size of the crater and the length of time it has been burning, and imagine how much gas has been wasted here. Then consider the carbon spewed into the atmosphere. Still turning off your lights for an hour?
Inside the crater, which apparently attracts curious insects and animals from miles around, you can get a better sense of why the locals call this crater the mouth of Hell.
Of all the many environmental tragedies in the former Soviet Union, I'd have to rank Chernobyl top, followed by the Aral Sea.
But for sheer, visual, gut-wrenching wrongness, it is hard to top the mouth of Hell.