Here are five of the most impressive manmade holes in the world.
Bingham Canyon Mine, Salt Lake County, Utah
The largest manmade excavation in the world, the Bingham Canyon Mine has been producing large amounts of copper since the early 1900s. It’s half a mile deep and 2.5 miles wide, and it covers an estimated 2,200 acres. The mine was designated as a National Historic Landmark in 1966.
Kimberley Diamond Mine, Kimberley, South Africa
Known as the Big Hole, the Kimberley Diamond Mine is 700 feet deep and 1,519 feet across, making it the largest diamond mine in the world. Excavated using only picks and shovels, the mine produced more than 6,000 pounds of diamonds before it closed in 1914.
Kola Superdeep Borehole, Kola Peninsula, Russia
In the mid-20th century, the Soviet Union and the United States were in a race to see who could dig farthest into the Earth’s crust. The American effort ended in 1966 due to lack of funding, but the Soviet effort resulted in the deepest manmade hole ever — 7.5 miles. Scientists quit when extreme heat made further digging impossible.
The Berkeley Pit, Butte, Montana
Established in 1955, the Berkeley Pit is among the largest open-pit copper mines in the world, measuring 7,000 feet long, 5,600 feet wide and 1,600 feet deep. The pit produced more than 290 million tons of copper ore before being shuttered in 1982 and is now a popular tourist attraction.
IceCube Neutrino Observatory, Amundsen–Scott South Pole Station, Antarctica
Scientists used a high-pressure hose and extremely hot water to melt the Antarctic ice to a depth of more than 8,000 feet in the construction of this international observatory, which searches for subatomic particles called neutrinos. The answers collected from the research could shed new light on the nature of dark matter and other puzzling areas of physics.
— Don Vaughan