Speed Reads

This doesn't look good

This fire-spewing sinkhole in China looks like the portal to hell

A mysterious, fire-spewing sinkhole appeared in northwest China a few weeks ago, and it has already overstayed its welcome.

The so-called "ring of fire," which lies in a hillside of the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, is about 1,457 degrees Fahrenheit. In fact, the sinkhole is so hot that geologists haven't been able to figure out how deep it is, because they can't get close enough without getting burned. And while the fire-spewing appears to be a new development, local residents told Chinese media outlets that the ground has been warm for years, and some people reported seeing smoke coming from the hill.

Geologists from the Xinjiang Meitian Geological Bureau have posited that the sinkhole was created when a layer of coal spontaneously combusted below ground, which eventually took out the surface layer, too. The hill that's home to the sinkhole isn't in a volcanic area, but the area is believed to have been used for mining in the 1970s. If the mines weren't sealed correctly, the coal could still be burning underground.