Apparently you can see three things from space: the Great Wall of China, the Trans-Siberian Railway and the Polish Bełchatów. This is just an anecdote – the resolution of human vision allows you to see objects over a hundred meters in size at such a distance.
Surface mines can be seen from space. So let’s start with the infamous Polish record holder.
Lignite opencast mine Bełchatów is the largest hole in the earth in Europe. Built 40 years ago, it is 12 km long, 3 km wide at its widest point and 200 m deep.
This is not the end of the records. 125 thousand annually. tons of coal. It goes to the nearby power plant in Bełchatów, which produces 20 percent. all energy in Poland. The power plant is the largest single producer of carbon dioxide (no mistake) in the world.
By the end of the decade, lignite reserves in Bełchatów will be exhausted. Production will stop in a few years. Then, just 44 km from Łódź, Poland’s largest and deepest lake is being built here† Today’s deepest, Hańcza, is just over 100 meters deep.
When it comes to opencast mines, there are those where Bełchatów seems to be a small hole.
One of the most famous is closed Mirnyj diamond mine located in Siberian Yakutia. Diamond mining started there in 1957. The mine produced diamonds weighing more than 2 million carats per year and the profit from the sale of the stones was 600 million dollars per year. In 2011, the mine was completely closed. A hole in Mirny it is 525 meters deep and 1.20 km in diameter.
Bigger and deeper, it opened in 1982. Udachnaya Mine† A local excavation it is 640 meters deep and 2.4 km in diameter. Diamonds are no longer mined in the open pit method, but there are plans to drill underground shafts.
Helicopters were not allowed to fly over both “holes in the ground,” Mirny and Udaczna, after several machines were sucked in by the air currents forming inside the mine. Unfortunately neither one nor the other can be visited. Even access to nearby towns requires a special pass.
The American opencast mine beats them Bingham Canyon Mine, Utah† It has a diameter of 4.5 km and is 1.2 kilometers deep† If it were to become a gigantic stadium, it would accommodate nine million people. It mainly mines copper ore, but at the same time it extracts other valuable metals: molybdenum, silver, gold, palladium and platinum.
Mine is not much smaller Chuquicamata in Chile, but the mines go deeper underground.
South Africa has no fewer than 8 of the 10 deepest mines on Earth. They are all more than 3 km deep and the deepest of them all the Mponeng mine extends just over 4 km below the surface our planet.
If there is a hell, this is what it is. The elevator ride from the surface takes one hour. The temperature at this depth is more than 60 degrees† To make people work there, crushed ice is pressed underground. The sidewalks are insulated from hot rocks with concrete walls and water.
This will allow you to lower the temperature by about 30 degrees and mine the gold. With its high price, it is enough to extract only 10 grams of ore from a ton of rock.
However, the deepest mines pale in comparison to the deepest boreholes on Earth.
Located in Russia SG-3 or the Super-Deep Kolski Well is the deepest exploration well in the world. Drilling started there in May 1970. It was planned to drill to a depth of 15,000 meters. However, it turned out that the rocks so deep are much hotter – instead of 100 degrees Celsius, it was found at 190. For this reason, drilling was stopped in 1994 at a depth of 12,262 meters† Since 2008, the project was halted due to lack of funds and since then the drilling site has deteriorated.
The 2008 Al Shaheen Oil Well (12,289 m) well located in the Persian Gulf extends deeper. The oil wells on the Siberian Sakhalin Peninsula are also deeper. From 2013 there were no fewer than five world records 12.45 km, 12.7 km, 13 km and 13.5 km deep†
However, these are not holes to look into. The SG-3 is only 92 cm in diameter at the surface.
This is arguably the most ambitious mining venture.
Icelandic scientists want drilling in the Icelandic volcano Víti (whose name means “hell”. Two kilometers deep, there is a magma chamber that was discovered while drilling for geothermal waters in 2009.
The borehole will allow scientists to study how magma behaves underground under natural conditions. It can help you better predict volcanic eruptions† It will be the hottest hole on Earth. Rock temperature near the room exceeds a thousand degrees Celsius†
There is a risk that the water (it is squeezed under pressure to reduce the friction of the drill) will cause a blowout. Viti volcano however, it is far from human settlements and will not threaten anyone.