Articles - Ten of the Biggest Holes in the World - The Open News
 
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25-06-2015

Ten Of The Biggest Holes In The World

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1. The Big Hole (Kimberley, South Africa)

As far as worldwide tourist attractions go, there are few that can compete with this entry in the 'most self-explanatory name' stakes. The Big Hole, as it is commonly known, is the result of a period (spanning from roughly mid 1871 to 1914) of intense diamond mining in the area formerly known as “New Rush”. At the peak of the mining activity there was a community of 50,000 working to excavate diamonds with shovels and picks, and once they had ceased the end result was this behemoth of a crater and 22 million tonnes of displaced earth. Measuring 463 metres across and 175 metres deep, the Big Hole is currently the subject of a campaign to see it recognised as a World Heritage Site.

2. Superdeep Borehole (Kola Peninsula, Russia)

Just because one can do something does not necessarily mean that one should, but the weight of these words of wisdom was evidently lost on the Soviet research team responsible for this entry on the list. Put simply, the Kola hole was a Russian science experiment based solely on determining how far it was possible to dig into the Earth's crust and, to be fair to them, their efforts didn't exactly disappoint. Beginning in 1970, excavation began with a central hole from which subsequent boreholes branched out; the deepest of these boreholes was completed in 1989 and, at 12,262 metres, remains the deepest artificial point on the Earth today. As for what exactly they accomplished from this project, the team found rocks that were estimated to be over 2.5 billion years old, alongside large quantities of hydrogen gas amongst other things. The project was abandoned in 2008, but sadly for the curious, the top of the borehole has been welded shut.
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3. Bingham Canyon Mine (Oquirrh Mountains, United States)

Much like the Big Hole above, this hole (found southwest of Salt Lake City) is the product of a mining operation. Unlike the Big Hole, however, the Bingham Canyon mine exhibits the true power of land-shaping machinery with a staggering depth of more than half a mile. Work first began to extract the area's rich copper deposits back in 1850, and the site was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1966. The site is still active today, where it retains its place among the world's largest open pit mines, helped in no small part by the fact that it is 2.5 miles wide. Two not-insignificant landslides in late 2013 dented productivity somewhat, but the operation has recovered well, continuing to churn out copper in spite of the circumstances.
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