The 2nd Biggest Hole in the World: Mir Mine, Mirny, Eastern Siberia, Russia

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If planet Earth actually had a butt hole, it might look like this.

At one time Mir Mine was the world’s largest diamond mine. Even now as it lies abandoned, the difference in air pressure created by the giant crater has created serious problems by sucking in passing aircraft (there is no evidence to substantiate the claim), resulting in an airspace ban over the mine’s opening.

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The second-largest man-made 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. Begun in 1955, the pit is now 1,722 feet deep and 0.78 miles in diameter. Stalin initially ordered construction of the mine to satisfy the Soviet Union’s need for industrial-grade diamonds.

The harsh, frozen Siberian landscape made working on the mine a difficult proposition at best. Jet engines were turned on the unyielding permafrost in order to melt it; when that failed, explosives were used. During its peak years of operation, the Mirny mine produced over 10 million carats of diamonds annually, a good percentage of which were gem-quality.

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Operations ceased in 2001, but the site didn’t lie dormant for long. Diamond mining now takes place in great volumes at the Mir Underground Mine, which lies just underneath the original open pit. To get to the base of the pit, massive 20-foot tall rock-hauling trucks travel along a road that spirals down from the lip of the hole to its basin. The round-trip travel time is two hours.

On the Web:

Mir Diamond Mine – Google Maps

The Mirny Mine, Open Pit Diamond Mine, Russia. Video and Map

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