10 Holes in the Earth That Will Blow Your Mind

credit: Migrated Image

The Big Hole in Kimberly, South Africa, was once a hill. When Erasmus Jacobs found a shiny pebble in the area in 1866, the diamond rush followed. The mine stakes a claim to being the deepest hand-excavated mine in the world, reaching a depth of 240m (787ft) before backfill and water collection left only 175m visible. Image: Flickr, Irene2005

credit: Migrated Image

The truck kicking up the dust cloud hints at the scale of this open pit mine. New Cobar, located in New South Wales, boasts of its mining environment as one of several tourist attractions, along with aboriginal and agricultural history and over 200 species of birds. Originally mined for copper, the discovery of gold, silver, lead, and zinc reinvigorated the local economy in the 1920s. Image: Flickr, Corrieb

credit: Migrated Image

Located in the Big Smoky Valley in central Nevada west of the Toiyabe Mountain Range, the Smoky Valley Mining Company, Round Mountain, pioneered large scale heap leaching of gold ores. The process relies on the ease with which metals dissolved in water can be separated from rocky ores. It is cost effective even for ores with low percentages of metals contained. Got any idea how big these mines are? >>> Image: Flickr, Uncle Kick-Kick

credit: Migrated Image

...So big that these are the trucks which drive down the roads spiralling into the depths of these big holes. According to Benketaro "This ginormous (846,000 lbs fully loaded) mining truck is used to haul ore from the open pit to the crushers and conveyors that will eventually process it into copper. The tires are 12 feet tall, and a tire blowout is equivalent to 16 sticks of tnt. Crrraaazzzy! " Image: Flickr, Benketaro

credit: Migrated Image

According to Wikipedia, "In 2007 Arizona was the leading copper-producing state in the US, producing 750 thousand tonnes of copper, worth a record $5.54 billion," and accounting for 60% of production in the US. This mine, near Miami, Arizona, is currently inactive. Mining communities suffer greatly when the large number of jobs supported by a local mine leave town due to collapse of the price of metals. Image: Flickr, dsearl

credit: Migrated Image

Before Bingham mine opened in 1906, copper was mined underground. The new open-pit technique made recovery of copper from low-grade ores commercially viable. According to the operator, Bingham is the world's largest man-made excavation: the pit extends over 1.2 km (0.75 miles) deep, 4 km (2.5 miles) wide, and covering 7.7 km2 (1,900 acres). Image: Timjarrett at en.wikipedia

credit: Migrated Image

This meteorite crater near Winslow, Arizona, covers only half the surface area of the Bingham copper mine at 1.2 km (0.75 mi) in diameter. This crater was the first evidence found to prove that extraterrestrial materials impacted the earth. Image: Flickr, dbking

credit: Migrated Image

The Berkeley Pit copper mine not only demonstrates the magnitude of humanity's need to plumb the depths of the earth to feed our consumption machine, but the impact after operations close. This mine closed in 1982 and has since been named an EPA Superfund toxic site. Where thousands were once employed as miners, jobs are now created for cleaning the 17 billion gallons of contaminated wastewater at the site. Image: Hadu at en.wikipedia

credit: Migrated Image

This photo was taken on a drive between Darwin and Sydney. One of so many mines in Australia that a weary traveller forgets their names, the mine looks like an image from a science fiction movie. Perfectly organized environmental chaos. Image: Flickr, Brewbooks

credit: Migrated Image

The Liberty Mine, in Ruth, Nevada, started operations in 1911. In addition to the open face mine, copper was processed in cyanide pits. The sparkling blue water resting in the scar on the earth above the mine is not a hole anyone would want to go swimming in. Image: Flickr, WordRidden

credit: Migrated Image

The Ladybower Reservoir is the largest of three man-made lakes serving water needs in the north and east Midlands. After its completion in 1945, the spire of a submerged parish church could be occasionally seen during low water periods. The church was demolished for safety reasons. This geometrically soothing image is part of the water management systems associated with the reservoir. Image: Flickr, Tim Parkison