Sunday, November 26, 2023




The Darvaza gas crater, also known as the Door to Hell or Gates of Hell, is a burning natural gas field collapsed into a cavern near Darvaza, Turkmenistan. The floor and especially rim of the crater are illumined by hundreds of natural gas fires. The crater has been burning since the 1980's, as how the crater formed is unknown but it is said that a Soviet oil rig fell into the crater in 1971, and a geologist decided to get rid of the rig by setting the pit on fire. The resulting gas-fed flames continue burning to this day.

The burning natural gas field in Derweze, Turkmenistan. This image is made from three 17mm shots stitched together and the field of view is larger than it may appear (the field has roughly the size of two basketball courts).

Some facts:
  • The crater is 30m (99 feet) deep in the centre and 69m (226 feet) wide.
  • The temperature inside the crater can reach 1,000 degrees C (1,832degrees F).
  • Visitors can spend the night in yurts pitcheed beside the crater.
  • In 2014 explorer and adventurer George Kourounis was the first individual to descend into the crater and reach the bottom, wearing fire resistant gear. He says that in that gear he felt “ a bit like a baked potato.”


Salar de Uyuni is the world's largest salt flat, or playa, at over 10,000 square kilometres (3,900 sq mi) in area. It is in southwest Bolivia, near the crest of the Andes at an elevation of 3,656 m (11,995 ft) above sea level.

Incahuasi island in the center of the Salar.

Some facts:
  • The Salar serves as the major transport route across the Bolivian Altiplano and is a prime breeding ground for several species of flamingos.
  • It has been used as a filming location for movies such as Star Wars: The Last Jedi (2017; as planet Crait).
  • The Palacio de Sal (Spanish for "Palace of salt") is a hotel built of salt blocks at the edge of Salar de Uyuni. The building was constructed of about 1 million 35-cm (14-inch) salt blocks, which are used for the floor, walls, ceiling and furniture, including beds, tables, chairs and sculptures. The sanitary system has been restructured to comply with the government regulations. The hotel has a dry sauna and a steam room, a saltwater pool and whirlpool baths.

Palacio De Dal
  • The salt forms eye-catching hexagon shapes on the surface. Groundwater seeping up to the surface evaporates, leaving a crust of salts and other minerals that had been dissolved in the water. Most striking, this process results in low ridges of concentrated salt that divide the playa into polygons: mostly hexagons with a smattering of pentagons and other geometric shapes.

  • During the rainy season (November to March) the water accumulates on the surface of the Salar de Uyuni and creates a giant mirror that perfectly reflects the sky and clouds above. It has been dubbed “The Mirror of God”.

Hidden Beach is part of the Marieta Islands in Mexico.

Some facts:
  • Invisible from the outside, no boats can make their way into the little bay, so would-be visitors must hop into the water and swim under the rocks to reach their destination. Hidden Beach is only accessible through a water tunnel that must be swum with a snorkeling mask but no fins (to protect the delicate sea bed).
  • Only swimming and sunbathing is allowed.
  • The strange formation of the ‘hidden beach’ is due to military explosives testing in the 1900s, which left several craters and caves on the islands. However, an outcry led by Jacques Cousteau in the 1960s put an end to this practice, along with any other harmful human intervention.
  • Due to federal regulations, time inside Hidden Beach is limited to 20 minutes.

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