That’s One Big Hole

Here’s a little trivia that my geography students might find interesting, the serious ones anyway.  While visiting one of my favorite weblogs this morning, Ten Daily Things, I ran across a reference to another weblog,, and a posting about the world’s biggest hole.  According to the article, the hole is a diamond mine found near the Eastern Siberian town of Mirna.

mirnahole.jpgNow, having grown up in the Great Salt Lake Valley, I know that Russia doesn’t have the world’s’ biggest man-man hole.  This honor belongs to the United States.  It’s the Kennecott Copper mine in Bingham Canyon.  But, I have to admit, the Kennecott mine looks more like an huge canyon than it does a hole, as compared to the nearly-symmetrical pit in Siberia.

kennecott.jpgHere’s a picture of the Kennecott mine.  It is the world’s largest man-made excavation (a better term than “hole” I think).  Started over a hundred years ago, it pioneered open-pit mining operations.  It is located 28 miles southwest of Salt Lake City.  It’s 2.5 miles across and 3 quarters of a mile deep.  The mine is so big that it can be easily seen from space shuttles in outer space with the naked eye.  By comparison, the Mirna diamond mine is only about one-third of a mile deep and less than a mile across.

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Published in: on July 31, 2006 at 4:28 pm  Comments (8)  

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  1. In South Africa, there is an extremely large hole in Kimberley made from addit diamond mining many,many years ago. How do you think it compares? It’s a wonderful sight to behold. Here’s a link.

  2. Mr. Garry,

    I never knew about the Kennecott Cooper mine in Bigham Canyon. Which suprises me because I did a report on Utah last year in Pre-Ap english. I learned about the founding of Utah and the Mormon’s that founded it. And the history of the seagull there. And my dad did some missions work for a few years as a minister. And he taught me alot about it.

    Peace Out My Good Fellow
    shelden kinnison

  3. Contrary to popular belief, many man-made objects can be seen from low earth orbit, and neither the Great Wall nor the mine are unique in this respect. This article was very interesting, however, as not many know about the Kennecott mine. Also, for readability, I had some trouble deciphering 3d, by which I assume you meant “third”, since the Mirna diamond mine is 2000 feet in depth, and “3 quarters”, in which it seemed as though you were asking for change for your American dollar. Thanks.

  4. Good comment, Sri. Thank you.

    As a former teacher of geography, I’m more than just a little embarrassed to have been so misinformed about what can and cannot be seen from low space orbit. Accordingly, I will have to update my Big Hole posting as it continues to get quite a few hits and I don’t want to be party to perpetuating the “Great Wall” myth. As an American who currently teaches high school economics, however, I was even more dismayed by your little quip concerning the U.S. dollar. Nice shot, one I think that is well-deserved.

    Combined with the ongoing world-wide rise in the price of petroleum, the home mortgage implosion affecting our country’s financial structure as well as the entire housing sector, and declining consumer confidence as we head into the Christmas shopping season this year, I’m anticipating a steep, deep recession in our country. The stock market bounced back some from near free-fall conditions on Friday with the October jobs report showing strong gains in services and leisure industries but with continued declines in manufacturing and virtually no change in the overall unemployment numbers. You can read the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) report for yourself at Personally, I don’t read the numbers in the report with much enthusiasm; many who are not currently unemployed in America are working part time and/or for much less than they earned from better jobs they held in the past. Further, I’m quite sure that many more-senior workers have chosen to take early retirement rather than seek retraining to re-enter the workforce at levels commensurate with their previous jobs in manufacturing. With our attention directed abroad chasing “bad guys,” and trying to make over other countries into our own image, our government has neglected things at home much too long I’m afraid. Which brings to mind an old Will Rogers quote, “Just be glad we’re not getting all the government we’re paying for.”

    From your server address, Sri, I’m guessing that you are a foreign student in our country. Am I right? If so, I wonder what impressions you will be taking home with you when you finish your studies here. Is America a great nation-state or merely a powerful one in rapid decline since the end of the Cold War?

  5. I don’t believe any country can make another country into its own image without its permission much less than anyone can make me into something to their liking without my permission. A sane person will adopt some traits that they like in someone as some countries adopt traits of other countries because it works. China’s race to be a industrial giant is a success despite all the downside of success, but the United States has its share of disenfranchised citizens as well during this technology age. Both China and Russian are taking a page out of Captitalism, but both are doing their best to keep Communism as their form of government. I think the U.S. government whether run by either party wants every country to be at peace, not run by a self-serving ruler and to be one team for the good of its respective citizens. Unfortunately, we are wearing down our welcome. I suspect we are too pushy or demanding. And yes, our government picks the battles that it believes are a threat to us, others and overall peace.We can only do so much however.

    I don’t think Iraq will become a clone of us. The people will adopt some ideals and dump the others. What will stand in the way of Iraq being at peace are those who are self-centered, hateful and belligerent. As we entered Iraq the second time, I told my daughter that we will win the battle, but I’m concerned about the troops who remain to re-build and protect Iraq. This military action being undertaken is merely delaying the inevitable of another great battle to take place in the near future. The U.S. will not be able to assist greatly because we will have our own serious problems to handle here. The party then will not commit the military not because it will not want to but because a weak economy and other pressing issues will prevent that taking place. We are not in decline, we just have way too much on the plate and there are those who do not want to scrape off some of the goods. We need to tighten our belts across this land. We need to fill the grain silos. Are we doing this? Those are my thoughts and I am aware they are way out there. But I for one see a pattern of great anxiety, stress and distrust in this country. At times I think we are a bunch of lemmings racing to a cliff, but I know better knowing full well that God is in control and what comes, comes and we as a people need to be steady and do our best treating one another with respect and kindness.

  6. Kent, I really enjoyed reading your comments. Actually, the best part was the last sentence. Now that said something that should speak to our hearts.

  7. While there is many objects that can be seen from a low earth orbit when the space shuttle goes into a high earth orbit there are only two man made objects that are visible. A low earth orbit is still in the upper atmosphere and so is not truly in space. This is the confusion that happens when people start saying that something is or is not visible from space.

  8. […] Kennecott Mine. is actually the world’s largest man-made excavation. “Kennecott mine looks more like a huge canyon than it does a hole, as compared to the nearly-symmetrical pit in Siberia….Started over a hundred years ago, it pioneered open-pit mining operations. It is located 28 miles southwest of Salt Lake City. It’s 2.5 miles across and 3 quarters of a mile deep. The mine is so big that it can be easily seen from space shuttles in outer space with the naked eye. By comparison, the Mirna diamond mine is only about one-third of a mile deep and less than a mile across.” source […]

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