This Friday we bring you five, well, “big holes.” I first
learned of these gaping cavities in the Earth via one of those irksome chain
emails. This particular bombardment of my inbox, however, turned out to rather
intriguing from a geographic perspective. Read on to learn the stories behind
these real-world natural and man-made depressions.
Kimberly Big Hole, Kimberly,
Arguably the largest hand-excavated open-pit mine in the
world, the “Big Hole” is located in Kimberly, South Africa. The
first recorded diamond discovery occurred here in 1866, after which the
facility was opened for mining by the DeBeers company in 1884. Open-pit mining
was closed in 1914, though underground mining continued until 2005. The site is
now a major tourist attraction.
Great Blue Hole, Lighthouse
Reef Atoll, Belize
The Great Blue Hole located off the coast of Belize is a submarine cave, one of several such phenomena in the world. Blue holes are
largely devoid of life due to the fact that water deep in the center lacks
oxygen. This particular site was made famous by the legendary explorer Jacques Cousteau in the 1970s
and was designated a World
Heritage Site in 1997.
Glory Hole, Napa
is a non-regulated spillway that forms part of the Monticello Dam, in Napa County,California. A spillway is a structure that helps
control the flow of water between the upper and lower portions of a dam.
Sink Hole, Guatemala
sinkhole formed on February 23, 2007, in Guatemala City when rain and an underground
sewage leak combined to produce a devastating result. About a dozen homes
plummeted downward along with the ground soil, and three people were killed.
Bingham Canyon Open Pit Copper Mine, Salt
Lake City County, Utah.
The Bingham Canyon Open Pit Copper Mine was the first and
largest open pit copper mine in the world. Developed in 1904, the mine is still
in production and was named a National
Historic Landmark in1966. Fun
facts: Bingham Canyon accounted for
one-third of the copper supplied to the allies during World War II. Today it contains
the cleanest copper smelter in the world (according to parent company
Do you know of any other “big holes,” or have you visited
one of the sites described here? Tell us about it!