Enormous sinkhole wide enough to swallow the White House appears on mining land

Darcy Rafter August 8, 2022
Enormous sinkhole wide enough to swallow the White House appears on mining land

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An enormous sinkhole wide enough to swallow the White House has appeared on a plot of mining land in Chile, according to Sernageomin, which is the country’s National Service of Geology and Mining.

Sinkholes form over areas where water gathers underground causing pits and caverns, they often form near old and active mines. Sometimes they form gradually but it can also happen suddenly.

The sinkhole in Chile has rapidly doubled in size.

Let’s take a look at the gigantic sinkhole and what impact it has had on the community.

Horizontal color photo of the White House in Washington DC on a clear summer evening from the front view with surrounding trees

Enormous sinkhole appears in Chile

The sinkhole emerged on July 30 and now stretches 160 feet across and goes down 656 feet. It is even big enough to swallow up France’s Arc de Triomphe. It has prompted work to stop at the nearby copper mine.

The giant sinkhole opened on a plot of land whose mining rights are owned and operated by a Canadian company, Lundin Mining. 

The company operates a variety of mines around the world primarily focusing on copper, zinc, gold, and nickel, according to its website.

Sernageomin geologists are investigating the site to ensure there is no connection to mining operations in the region.

Enormous sinkhole as big as The White House appears

The sinkhole is approximately as deep as the length of two football pitches. It may make you wonder what is down there. Well, David Montenegro, Sernageomin’s director, said in a statement: “We haven’t detected any material down there, but we have seen the presence of a lot of water.”

Lundin Mining released a statement on its website, saying that “upon detection, the area was immediately isolated”. All work has now been ordered to stop at the mining site.

In a statement, Sernageomin said the decision was made as a result of safety concerns for the Tierra Amarilla community. The mine is situated about 413 miles north of Santiago.

Halting work will also help experts to investigate what caused the incident.

Tierra Amarilla’s mayor shares his thoughts on sinkhole

Photo by JOHAN GODOY/AFP via Getty Images

Tierra Amarilla’s mayor, Cristóbal Zúñiga, explained to a local radio station the community that live near the mine “has always had a fear that something like this could happen.” Whilst it is currently affecting an agricultural property the mayor revealed “our greatest fear now is that this could happen in a populated place, on a street, in a school.”

Cristóbal Zuñiga is 25 years old and as his Twitter bio states, he is the youngest mayor in the country. Cristóbal told Ciudadano ADN Radio strong tremors have caused damage. He claimed tremors from the mine “have destroyed our houses and our streets, and today, destroyed the ground.”

He also claimed “the government, Sernageomin, and this company must be held responsible and be investigated quickly regarding what happened and why.”

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Darcy is an experienced journalist passionate about celebrity culture and entertainment. After gaining a degree in Media and Communications at Goldsmiths University she has also become a social media specialist, always keeping informed on the latest trends. With almost five years of experience in media, her expertise is analysing platforms such as Instagram, Twitter and TikTok. When she's not tracking the latest trending content, she’s watching films and eating lots of chocolate.