The Earth’s got its share of unusual things like the 10 most unusual weather phenomena and other things but the Earth also has some unexplained deep holes. Some of the deepest holes in the world are
10. Monticello Dam, California
Monticello Dam is a Napa County dam built between 1953 and 1957. It holds back Putah Creek in the Vaca Mountains to create Lake Berryessa and supplies water to San Francisco’s North Bay area. Its Morning Glory Spillway, also known as “The Glory Hole,” can take in 48,000 cubic feet of water per second into a massive concrete pipe when the dam reaches capacity. Swimming is prohibited after a woman drowned when she was pulled into the spillway in 1997.
9. Darvaza Gas Crater, Turkmenistan
Known as the “Door to Hell,” the Darvaza Crater is a sinkhole with a certain kind of distinction on the list of the deepest holes in the world. It’s the only one on fire. The fire continues to burn more than four decades after Soviet scientists allegedly set fire to gases after a drilling accident. The hole is 225 feet wide and 99 feet deep. Its glow can be seen from miles away.
8. Sinkhole in Guatemala City
The ground swallowed a three-story factory when a sinkhole formed in 2010 in Guatemala City. The hole stretched about 65 feet across and 300 feet deep. While hydrogeologists blamed floodwaters from tropical storm Agatha, the soil may have already been in the making thanks to a burst sanitary or storm sewer. That caused a similar hole that appeared in Guatemala City in 2007. It’s also spurred concerns that more holes could form thanks to the city resting on pumice fill, which are ash flows resulting from ancient volcanic eruptions.
7. Great Blue Hole, Belize
The Great Blue Hole, a tourist attraction in Belize, is a large underwater sinkhole off its coast. It stretches about 984 feet across and is about 410 feet deep. The hole, popular with scuba divers who marvel at its crystal clear water and varieties of sea life, originated as a limestone cave during the last ice age.
6. Diavik Mine, Canada
Dominion Diamond Corporation’s Diavik Diamond Mine holds title to being Canada’s largest diamond mine in terms of carat production. The mine, which reaches more than 600 feet deep, is also one of the deepest holes in the world. The Diavik Diamond Mine is located on an island at Lac de Gras in Canada’s remote Northwest Territories. The mine yielded an 187.7 carat rough diamond in 2015 that’s believed to be one of the largest diamonds ever discovered in Canada. Mining is now done underground as open pit mining at the site stopped in 2012.
5. Kimberley Diamond Mine
The Kimberley Diamond Mine, located in the capital of South Africa’s Northern Cape province, stretches the size of eight football fields and is the world’s largest hand-dug hole. It is about 787 feet deep and was dug by almost 50,000 miners. The mine, also known as “the Big Hole,” opened in 1871 and closed in 1914. Now a tourist attraction, the mine was the site of many deaths caused by unsanitary conditions, a lack of water and a lack of fresh air.
4. Mirny Diamond Mine, Russia
The first and one of the largest diamond mines in the USSR, the open-pit Mir Mine known as the Mirny Mine is no longer in operation. The mine, located in Mirny in Eastern Siberia, is about 1,722 feet deep and 3,900 feet in diameter. It earned the nickname “Navel of the Earth” and is the second largest excavated hole in the world, as well as the fourth deepest open pit mine. Flying isn’t allowed overhead because of reports of helicopters being sucked in. The mine produced more than 10 million carats of diamonds per year when it was in peak operation.
3. Udachnaya Pipe Mine, Russia
Russian diamond company Alrosa owns the Udachnaya Pipe diamond mine in western Yakutia in Russia. The last blasting at the open pit mine, opened in 1955, took place in 2015 as Alrosa decided to switch to underground mining. Its surface area stretches about 5,249 by 6,561 feet and it is 2,099 feet deep. About 350 million tons of ore containing rough diamonds, about $80 billion worth, have been mined at Udachnaya. It averaged about 12.8 million tons of ore per year.
2. Chuquicamata Copper Mine, Chile
Codelco owns the Chuquicamata open pit copper mine, located north of Santiago, Chile. The mine, better known as Chuqui, produces the most copper in the world. It is already more than 2,788 feet deep, and Codelco plans to deepen the mine by nearly 2,582 feet as it builds an underground mine beneath the current open pit mine. The mine, which tops our list of the deepest holes in the world, has been in operation since 1910.
1. Bingham Canyon Mine, Utah
The Bingham Canyon Mine, located in the Oquirrh Mountains in Utah, remains in operation. At 2.5 miles wide and 0.75 miles deep, it’s not only one of the deepest holes in the world but also the world’s largest manmade excavation and the world’s largest copper mine. Also known as the Kennecott Copper Mine, the open-pit mine’s produced more than 17 million tons of copper as well as 23 million ounces of gold and 190 million ounces of silver. It made headlines in 2013 when 150 million tons of debris fell into the mine in what is one of the largest human-caused landslides in history. The company didn’t expect all of the debris to be cleared out for at least three years.