In 2011, the University of Salento discovered the exact location of the ancient ‘gateway to hell’ that was once the deadliest place one could. Dating back to more than 2000 years, this place suffocated many humans and animals. However, the human priests were left unharmed in this ancient town of Phrygia in present-day Turkey.
The explanation behind this strange phenomenon was discovered only recently when researchers discovered that the thick, concentrated envelope of carbon dioxide was responsible for suffocating living beings, especially animals, to death.
This ancient place, also known as the ‘Pluto’s Gate’ – named after the Roman God of death and underworld – was once used as a place to sacrifice animals. The priests of that time would bring the sacrificial animals, particularly bulls, into the area and watch them slowly die out of suffocation from the fumes.
This is how the cave was discovered after a long time: when the researchers observed that birds passing through the area would drop dead every time they passed, they investigated further to find the deadly gases near the cave that caused their death – hinting that the cave is still as deadly as it was thousands of years ago.
According to the 2018 study, a small crevice present below the area is responsible for releasing humongous amounts of volcanic carbon dioxide. On further investigation of the area, the researchers found that the gas released was much denser than the normal air and therefore appeared like a lake floating over the ground. This large amount of gas released causes the instantaneous death of the animals and birds that pass through the area.