Humans all over the world have excavated deep into the Earth’s crust for many different reasons.
Some do it for scientific research while others drill a hole for mineral and oil exploration. In this article, we list the top 10 largest holes in the world.
Kimberley Mine (The Big Hole), South Africa
The Big Hole or the Kimberley Mine is one of the largest holes in the world, at around 700 feet in depth.
Its depth is disputed though, with some saying it can go down to as deep as 3,599 feet. Despite this, the mine is still one of the deepest man-made excavations in the world. It is an open-pit diamond mine that began operations in 1871. The mine is believed to have produced around 14 million carats of diamonds since it started its operation.
The depth of the Kimberley Mine has made it difficult to operate, so no one can tell its exact depth anymore. In the mine, workers are exposed to extreme heat and underground fires from mining operations.
Also known as the Yongle Blue Hole, Dragon Hole is the deepest known blue hole in the world, with a depth of 987 feet. It is found north of Drummond Island in the Paracel Islands.
It was discovered by local fishermen who referred to it as an eye of the South China Sea, and was thought to be where the Monkey King resides. The Dragon Hole is a bit deeper than the popular Dean’s Blue Hole in the Bahamas, with around 330 feet in difference.
The Berkeley Pit
At its peak depth, the Berkeley Pit is one of the deepest and largest holes in the world.
The depth varies from year to year due to rainfall and snowmelt but it has been recorded reaching up to 1,780 feet in depth. The water level within the pit has steadily risen since operations at the mine ceased in 1982.
The pit has been mined for silver, gold, lead, zinc, and copper ore. It is now a popular tourist attraction in Butte, Montana.
Crveno Jezero or Red Lake is a hidden lake located in the Balkans region of Europe. It can be found in the Dinaric Als mountain range and is one of the deepest holes in the world.
The lake is around 19 kilometers long and 1.5 kilometers wide. The maximum depth of the lake has been traced up to 530 meters or around 1,700 feet, making it one of the deepest lakes in the Balkans after Lake Ohrid.
The lake got its name for its distinct red color and is inhabited by endangered fish that is endemic only to the lake and surrounding rivers and streams.
The Mir Mine is known for its impressive size and belongs on this list as one of the largest holes in the world.
The mine has a diameter of 1.2 kilometers and reaches a depth of up to 1,722 feet below the surface.
The mine has produced more than 10 million carats of diamonds every year and accounts for 27% of the total global diamond production.
Known as one of the largest and deepest holes in the world, Xiaozhai Tiankeng is a spectacular geological feature that is located in the Chongqing Municipality of China.
The sinkhole is popularly known as the Heavenly Pit of Xiaozhai houses around 1,285 species of plants and many rare animals such as the clouded leopard.
The pit measures 1,968 in diameter at its widest point and reaches a depth of 2,172 feet. There is even an underground river that flows underneath the sinkhole.
Bingham Canyon Mine
The Bingham Canyon Mine, known as Kennecott Copper Mine by locals, is one of the largest holes in the world.
The mine is 2.5 miles wide and over 1.2 kilometers deep. It is the largest man-made excavation in the world since it began operations in 1906. The entire pit is more than 1,900 feet deep and covers an area of around 4 square miles.
It is so large due to its ore body which contains very high concentrations of copper, gold, and many other minerals.
Chuquicamata Copper Mine
The Chuquicamata Copper Mine is one of the largest open-pit copper mines in the world and is located in the Atacama Desert in Chile.
It is also one of the deepest and largest holes in the world, with its pit measuring up to 1.7 kilometers wide and at a depth of up to 3,000 feet. The location has been mined for over 100 years and continues to be one of Chile’s most important sources of copper.
It has been so successful because it contains large amounts of high-grade copper ore that can be extracted at a very low cost.
IceCube Neutrino Observatory
Simply known as IceCube, the IceCube Neutrino Observatory is a neutrino observatory found at the Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station in Antarctica.
It is considered one of the largest holes in the world as it runs through an extensive depth of around 1.5 kilometers below the surface of the Antarctic ice sheet.
Kola Superdeep Borehole
The Kola Superdeep Borehole is the direct result of a scientific drilling project by the Soviet Union that began in 1970.
Through years of drilling, the Kola Superdeep Borehole reached a depth of around 40,000 feet and was later stopped due to lack of funds. One can only imagine the real depth of this hole as it surpasses even the deepest point on Earth – the Mariana Trench.
The largest hole in the world has been the subject of many studies that allowed us to further understand the history of our planet as well as the organisms that lived long before even the dinosaurs.
These large holes will always be locations that draw people in whether it is for tourists or for researchers and scientists who are fascinated with what lies beneath the earth’s surface.