Bingham Canyon Mine – Largest Man-Made Hole
You don’t need any special equipment to see this gigantic hole from the ISS artificial satellite, because a 2.5 mile wide hole in the ground is perfectly visible with the naked eye from the low Earth orbit. Called Bingham Canyon Mine, it is the largest man-made excavation into our planet’s surface. It is located southwest of Salt Lake City, Utah, and the nearby Oquirrh Mountains make it seem even deeper and vaster by contrast.
It is an open-pit copper mine that plays a major role in the US economy. A good mining year still generates billions of dollars for the country, and this well of wealth has been around since 1906. It is now also a National Historic Landmark, and one that is definitely worth your time.
The owning company called Rio Tito permanently monitors the pit’s stability, meaning that it can predict landslides long before they happen. Everybody was perfectly safe when the largest landslide in North America happened in the mine last year in April. The event generated a 5.1 earthquake and cut production by 100,000 tons.
But copper is still in huge demand today, because it affects pretty much every aspect of our lives: telecommunication, electricity, piping, agriculture – these and other industries are all dependent on copper production. Consequently, Rio Tito decided to move the mining underground. The 2.5 mile wide, 0.6 mile deep man-made canyon will remain as it is, covering 1,900 acres. But below that, another gargantuan mine will be formed, one that could reportedly “swallow midtown Manhattan from 33rd Street to 57th Street”.