More than 40 years ago, the big, flaming Darvaza Crater suddenly appeared in the northern Turkmenistan desert. Commonly known as the “Door to Hell,” it’s a strange sight in the middle of what is now empty land.

Storm chaser and explorer George Kourounis went on an expedition in November 2013 to explore the crater’s 225-foot (69-meter) width and 99-foot (30-meter) depth for the first time. He describes the setting as being like a scene from a science fiction film. There’s nothing else in the flaming hole, but a heat blast prevents anyone from even looking directly into the wind. You must stand at the edge of the crater and cover your face with your hand. Kourounis refers to the crater as the “colosseum of fire”, and it makes you feel extremely small and helpless while in it.

Some say that the Darvaza Crater was created when Soviet scientists set it on fire to release deadly gases. But information on the Internet is slightly different from what the local geologists informed Kourounis. It remains a mystery.