Looking at photos like these scares and fascinates me in equal doses. The sheer scale of these holes reminds you of just how tiny you are. In man’s search for mineral wealth, many enormous holes have been dug. In addition, nature occasionally produces some astounding holes. This list is a pick of the five most spectacular natural or manmade holes in the face of the earth. At last count, there were more than 170 known impact craters on our planet, according to the Earth Impact Database maintained by the University of New Brunswick in Canada. These puncture wounds are littered over every continent, as well as the seafloor.
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1. Kimberley Big Hole, South Africa
Kimberly Big Hole, located in South Africa, was a diamond mine over 1,097 meters deep. The mine was closed in 1914 but was later reopened as a tourist attraction. The site is now a major tourist attraction, featuring a bar, small hotel, shops, and eateries – all in the same area that these things would have been located while the mine was active. Workers will be dressed in period garb and visitors will have the opportunity to participate in a simulation complete with dynamite blasts and dusty explosions ? all designed to give visitors a feel for what it was like living in mine town.
2. Glory Hole ? Monticello Dam, California
The Glory Hole at Monticello Dam is a man made hole designed to help drain water from the reservoir. The sheer size of the hole allows it to drain over 14,440 cubic feet of water every second ? yes, that’s every second! Water that is drained through the hole is shot out at the bottom of the dam. Rumors claim that a woman jumped down the hole thinking she would come out the other end but never lived to tell the tale ?
3. Darvaza Gas Crater
In 1971, geologists discovered a massive underground deposit of natural gas. Whilst excavating the hole to tap the gas, the drilling rig collapsed leaving a massive hole. To prevent poisonous gasses from escaping, the hole was allowed to burn. It continues to burn to this day and has done so without ceasing.
4. Chand Baori
Chand Baori is a famous stepwell situated in the village of Abhaneri near Jaipur in the Indian state of Rajasthan. This step well is located opposite Harshat Mata Temple and is one of the deepest and largest step wells in India. It was built in the 9th century and has 3500 narrow steps in 13 stories and is 100 feet deep.
5. Sinkhole in Guatamela
In February of 2007, a sinkhole in Guatamela collapsed, killing two children as their home, and dozens of others, were swallowed into the pit. The blame for this astoundingly large hole was placed on a ruptured sewer pipe.
The earth is capable of producing plenty of wonderful and natural anomalies. Take a look around and, if you?re in the area, stop by to see one of these incredible sites.