Our planet is covered in pockmarks so deep that they can be seen from space. Some were caused by asteroid strikes, but most are the result of human meddling. Here are some of the most incredible examples of the scarred Earth.
Mir or Mirny Mine, Yakutia, Russia
This open pit diamond mine was opened in 1957 and closed two years ago. In the 1960s it was producing 10 million carats (2 tons) of diamond per year, but this rate slowed to 2 milion carats (400 kg) per year. It was the first and largest diamond mine in the Soviet Union, now 1720 ft (525 m) deep and 3940 ft (1200 m) in diameter. The airspace above the mine is closed for helicopters because it sucks them with its downward air flow.
(via Galaktika and Google Maps)
Berkeley Pit, Butte, Montana
This former copper mine was opened in 1955 but it was closed in 1982. The water pumps in the nearby Kell shaft are closed, and groundwater began to fill the pit. Now the water is about 900 m (270 m) deep there and acidic (2.5 pH) like Coke and Pepsi. About 2020 the pit water starts to polluting the nearby natural groundwater.
Bingham Canyon Mine or Kennecott Copper Mine, southwest of Salt Lake City, Utah
The deepest open-pit mine of the world has been in production since 1906, and now it has a more than 0.6 miles (0.97 km) deep and 2.5 miles (4 km) wide pit. As of 2004, ore from the mine has yielded more than 17 milllion tons of copper, 715 tons (23 million ounces) of gold, 5,900 tons (190 million ouncess) of silver and 386 kt (850 million pounds) of molybdenium.
The current mine plan will expire in 2019, but the owner Rio Tinto Group would extend the life of the mine into the 2030s.
(via Google Maps and aibob)
Derweze or Darvaza, the "Door To Hell", Derweze, Turkmenistan
The site in the middle of the Karakum Desert was identified by Soviet geologists in 1971. They set up a drilling rig and started operations, but the ground collapsed into a wide crater and the rig disappeared. Some methane gases were released and that created a real danger for the people in nearby villages. So the scientists decided to burn these gases off. They thought it would take a few days. They were wrong. The gas has been burning since then without any pause. The nearest village, named Derweze, was abandoned on the orders of the Türkmenbaşy, Saparmurat Niyazow, because "it was an unpleasant sight for tourists."
Udachnaya pipe, Russia
Discovered only two days after the Mir (or Mirny) by Vladimir Shchukin and his team in 1955. Now it's the third deepest mine, the people are doing there work 1970 ft (600 m) deep there.
(via Google Maps and Academic)
Chuquicamata, outside of Calama, Chile
The world's biggest and second deepest (2,790 ft or 850 m) open pit copper mine was opened in 1882, but the metal was mined there for centuries. The Chilean copper now still accounts for almost one-third of the country's all exports.
This giant scallop shell is made of earth. A crane deposits the earth in successive, slightly curved lines giving the appearance of sheets of sand lined up side by side. This earth is extracted with the copper, but it is separated from the ore by sieving. Photo by Yann Arthus-Bertrand.
Diavik Diamond Mine, North Slave Region, Canada
The area was surveyed in 1992 and the open-pit production started in 2003. In March 2010, undergorund mining began and the transition from open pit to undergroun mining was completed in 2012.
Ekati Diamond Mine, Nothwest Territories, Canada
Canada's first surface and underground diamond mine was opened in 1998, 200 km south of the Arctic circle. It produced more than 40 million carats (8 tons) of diamonds out of open pits.
(via Google Maps and Mining)
Grasberg mine, near Puncak Jaya, Papua, Indonesia
The world's largest gold mine and the third largest copper mine was built at 14,000 ft (4100 m) above sea level in one of West Papua's most remote areas. In 2006 it producted more than 610.8 tons of copper, 58.47 tons of gold and 174.46 tons of silver.
Fimiston Super Pit, near Kalgoorlie, Western Australia
The 2.17 mi (3.5 km) long, 0.93 mi (1.5 km) wide and 1870 ft (570 m) deep pit has an oblong shape, and it produces more than 28 tons (850,000 ounces) gold per year.
(via Google Maps and Super Pit)
Vredefort Crater, South Africa
The largest verified impact crater with a diameter of 186 miles (300 km) was made two billion years ago by an asteroid that have been 5-10 kilometers in diameter.
(via Google Maps)
Manicouagan Crater, Québec, Canada
The roughly 213-215 million years old crater is a multiple-ring structure about 60 miles (100 km) across, and have a 40 miles (70 km) diameter annular lake, named the Manicouagan Reservoir.
(via Google Maps)
Wolfe Creek Crater, Western Australia
The well-preserved crater averages about 0.54 miles (875 m) in diameter, and its estimated age is less than 300,000 years.
(via Google Maps and Dainis Dravins/Lund Observatory)
Shoemaker Crater, Western Australia
The deeply eroded remnant of an impact crater contains some salt lakes.
Lake Bosumtwi, Ghana
The crater is 6.52 miles (10.5 km) in diameter and its depth is about 1246 feet (380 m).
The Ashanti ethnic group respects this as a sacred lake, they believe that the souls of the dead come here to bid farewell to the god Twi. By the way, the former Secretary-General of the United Nations Kofi Annan is an Ashanti.
(via Google Maps and Jackson School Of Geosciences)