The second largest artificial hole in the world (surpassed only by the Bingham copper mine in Utah) is a diamond mine located on the outskirts of Mirny, a small town in eastern Siberia.
Also known as “la mine Mir“, the first excavations of this mine began in 1955, when it was only of small size at that time. Today, it is 525 metres deep and covers a distance of 1.25 kilometres in diameter. The construction and drilling of this mine was ordered by Stalin to meet the Soviet Union’s needs for industrial quality diamonds after the war.
However, the Mirny mine, growing in size, the hard and frozen Siberian landscape made working on the mine particularly difficult. Jet engines were activated on inflexible permafrost (permanently frozen ground) to melt it; when this failed, explosives were used, making the huge hole a little larger. During its peak years, the Mirny mine produced more than 10 million carats of diamonds per year, a good percentage of which were of very good quality.
Although open-pit mining has ceased, mining continues using underground methods. The huge rock transport trucks serving the Mirny mine travel along a road that spirals down the hole at its basin.
Although it has been said that helicopters are not allowed to fly over the mine, it is said that some poorly informed pilots have been “sucked” into the hole by the draughts that are rushing into the mine.
All images in this article are from : Amusing Planet