© BBC Travel
- desolate /DES-uh-lit/
- catch sight of (someone/something) /kach sahyt uhv/
- distortion /dih-STAWR-shuhn/
- expel /ik-SPEL/
- fumes /fyooms/
[adjective] – a desolate place is empty and not attractive, with no people or nothing pleasant in it
The house was situated in a desolate environment.
[idiom/phrase] – to see something only for a moment
You can catch sight of the entire city from where you are standing at the top of the hill.
[noun] – a change to the original or natural shape of something
The photographic image can be severely distorted by an improper chemical balance.
[verb] – to force air or liquid out of something
You expel air from your lungs when you sneeze.
[noun (plural)] – strong, unpleasant, and sometimes dangerous gas or smoke
Toxic fumes erupted from the chemical factory.
Explorer and storm chaser George Kourounis set out on an expedition in November 2013 to become the first person to investigate the crater’s depths, which are 99 feet (30 meters) deep and 225 feet (69 meters) wide. The crater looks like something out of a science fiction movie when he first catches sight of it. There is a huge, flaming hole in the middle of this massive, sweeping desert that has almost nothing else. When you’re downwind, you get this blast of heat that is so powerful that you can’t even stare straight into the wind. The shimmer from the heat’s distortion twisting the air around it is incredible to witness. You must use your hand to cover your face while standing at the crater’s edge. It made a screaming, high-pressure, gas-burning sound similar to a jet engine. There was also no smoke. Because it burns so cleanly, there is nothing to block your vision. You feel extremely small and vulnerable in a setting like that, as Kourounis calls it, a “colosseum of fire.”
There are few details on the sinkhole’s creation, but the legend has it that Soviet scientists lit it on fire to expel poisonous fumes after the ground beneath a drilling rig crumbled. However, the tale that has been making the rounds on the Internet diverges a little from what the local geologists told Kourounis. A portion of it is still a mystery.
- Do you know any unsolved mysteries in your town, city, or country? Please tell me more about them.
- What is the most interesting or mysterious place you have been to? Please describe the place.
- Would you visit the Darvaza Crater? Why or why not?
- Can the Internet be a reliable source for providing information about mysterious places?
- How do you think mysteries such as the Darvaza Crater can be solved?