Nietzsche said: if you gaze into the abyss, the abyss gazes back into you. If we look deep into these man made holes we might face our own monstrosity we fight ever since, or witness humankind’s majesty.
The following collection of mining pits, atomic craters, scientific achievements show some of the largest scale direct impact on nature done by humans.
The 2.5 miles wide and 3,937 feet deep Bingham Canyon open-pit copper mine (aka Kennecott’s mine) in Bingham Canyon, Utah is the deepest excavated hole on the face of Earth, which consumed an 8,000 foot high mountain completely.
Photo: Rick Bowmer/AP
Photo: Expedition 15/NASA
The Mir (or Mirny) mine in Mirny, Eastern Siberia, Russia, is a former open pit diamond mine. The now inactive mine is 1,722 feet deep 3,900 feet wide, and it is the second largest excavated hole in the world, after Bingham Canyon Mine.
Photo: Staselnik/Wikimedia Commons
The Canadian Diavik Diamond Mine is located on a 7.7 square mile island devouring half of its land.
The Big Hole (aka Kimberley Mine) in Kimberley, South Africa is an open-pit and underground mine 463 meters across and 240 meters deep. It’s one of the largest pits dug by hand.
Chuquicamata in North Chile is the largest open pit copper mine in the world by excavated volume, and the second deepest open-pit mine (after Bingham Canyon Mine), with its 2,790 feet depth.
The ever burning hole widely known as the Door to Hell is located in Derweze, Turkmenistan. It was created by accident and negligence, when Soviet engineers found natural gas instead of oil, and the ground beneath the drilling camp collapsed in 1971. Geologists set the leaking gas on fire to protect nearby towns from dangerous gases, expecting the field was going to run out of gas soon.
Photo: Tormod Sandtorv
The bottom of the Kola Superdeep Borehole is the deepest artificial point on Earth. The Soviet scientific drilling project on the Kola Peninsula attempted to drill as deep as possible into the Earth’s crust. The deepest branch reached a 40,230 foot depth.
The 72 foot wide Glory Hole of the Monticello Dam, North California is one of the largest drain holes in the world. The concrete spillway can drain 48,400 cubic feet water per second from the reservoir.
Photo: Daniel Clanon
The Ladybower Reservoir’s drain hole is located in Derbyshire, England, and it is 80 feet wide.
Photo: Vaidotas Mišeikis
The Gibson Dam glory hole spillway in Montana.
Looking down the Yellowtail Dam spillway tunnel from above the air slot.
The 100 feet deep Chand Baori stepwell in the village of Abhaneri, Rajasthan, is one of the deepest and largest stepwells in India.
Photo: Chetan/Wikimedia Commons
Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory’s Project Gnome, the first nuclear Plowshare experiment created this 76 feet high 161 feet wide underground cave by detonating a 3.1-kiloton nuclear weapon at a depth of 1,181 feet near Carlsbad, New Mexico.
The 320 feet deep and 1,280 feet wide Sedan Crater was created when a 100-kiloton nuclear explosive buried under 635 feet was fired at the Nevada Test Site on July 6, 1962, displacing 12 million tons of earth.
This crater was caused by an underground, intermediate yield, atomic detonation known as the Mississippi Event, May 10, 1962 at the Nevada Test Site.
The huge craters of Yucca Flat, Nevada Test Site, after several underground tests, 1967.
The Sedan Crater’s closest Soviet counterpart is the 328 foot deep and 1,338 foot wide Chagan crater which was filled in to create Lake Chagan.
Photos: Timofey Yuriev
These Transylvanian salt mines not only have huge underground artificial caves and chambers, but also look amazing.
The main water tank of the Metropolitan Area Outer Underground Discharge Channel facility in Kasukabe City, 19 miles north of Tokyo, Japan, is the world’s largest underground flood diversion facility. It was built 72 feet below ground, and it is really gigantic: 581 feet long, 255 feet wide, 82 feet high with a forest of 59 reinforced concrete pillars.
Photo: Chris McGrath/Getty Images
A gaping, 76-foot-deep hole at the worksite for the proposed Chicago Spire skyscraper. Work on the 115 story condominium project was suspended after the builder ran into financial troubles in 2008.
Photo: Scott Olson/Getty Images
Photo: Brian Kersey/Shelbourne/AP