A mysterious fiery hole was discovered by locals in western China, and now, villagers are afraid to go near it. The hole, which is a few feet wide, radiates intense heat and glows bright orange.
— (@LucaJalowy) April 9, 2015
Some have called it a “door to hell,” but there’s a simpler explanation.
“Although it is unusual, we’re pretty certain that it has been caused by the spontaneous combustion of coal,” geologist Hu Tan told News Ltd. “The air blasting out of the hole is so hot, that if you hold a branch near to it bursts into flames,” he added.
And the hole–located near Urumqi, the capital of Xinjiang Province–is pretty hot.
“We have recorded a temperature of around 792C,” or about 1457 degrees F, another researcher added.
But the hole is nothing compared to the “Door to Hell” in the Central Asian country of Turkmenistan. The hole is 230 feet wide and has been burning since 1971 after a mishap.
Known as the Darvaza Crater, it’s fed by a near-limitless supply of natural gas: