Photo of the day: bonfire in Pennsylvania

If you’ve ever dressed in layers during December, with snow piled on the ground, and set fire to a spare wood mound just for the fun of staring into the bursting flames beneath the twinkling stars, then you know about one of the greatest joys of the bonfire: entrancing warmth. No matter where you are, no matter what time of year, a bonfire is an age-old pastime that brings people together in silence, sing-song, and story-telling. This photo was taken during December in Greensboro, Pennsylvania. Greensboro, Pennsylvania is a tiny country town on the border of West Virginia. And by tiny, I mean, the population of Greensboro is 295. Recreational options are considerably limited in a town this small and a blazing bonfire is a wonderful way to chisel away the evening. Taken by photographer Ben Britz, this shot captures the flame and burning wood with intricate detail.

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Turkmenistan’s “Door to Hell”

Door to Hell, englishrussia.comWe’ve previously reported here at Gadling on the intriguing, surreal and downright bizarre tourist attractions of the Central Asian nation of Turkmenistan. Now today comes further “fuel” for the country’s already odd reputation. Website English Russia is reporting on what local residents have dubbed the “Door to Hell” – a cavernous, flaming pit outside the small town of Darvaza which has been continuously burning for more than 35 years.

While Biblical alarmists might point to the “Door of Hell” as yet another sign of a coming apocalypse, the phenomenon apparently has a scientific explanation. According local residents, geologists were digging in the area for gas deposits and stumbled upon a huge underground cavern. The geologists apparently concluded the cavern was filled with poisonous gas, and decided (as any sane rational scientist might do) that they should light the cavern on fire to burn off the excess. The hole has been burning for more than 35 years since. Though there’s some debate on English Russia about whether this flaming pit is actually located in Uzbekistan, some further investigation confirms it is indeed in Turkmenistan.

Perhaps the “Door to Hell” won’t help put Turkmenistan back on your list of 1,000 Places to Visit Before You Die, but if you’re a Satanist, energy company executive or just plain curious, maybe it’s worth the long trek out to Central Asia.