This giant man-made canyon is visible to the naked eye even from Earth orbit, without any additional equipment. Indeed, a hole 4 kilometers wide is very difficult to miss — it clearly stands out on the body of the Earth.
Called Bingham Canyon, this is the largest man-made excavation on the surface of our planet. The canyon is located southwest of Salt Lake City in Utah, and the neighboring Oquirr Mountains make it appear even deeper and more expansive in comparison.
This is an open pit copper mine that plays a major role in the American economy. In a good year for the mining industry, it still brings in billions of dollars for the country. This source of wealth has been working and benefiting since 1906. Now Bingham is also a National Historic Landmark, one of the most unusual in America.
A well-known mining company called Rio Tinto manages Bingham, constantly monitoring the condition of the quarry. Their experts can predict landslides long before they happen. As a result, they all passed perfectly safe for workers and equipment, even when there was the largest landslide in North America (in April of last year). This event was due to a 5.1 magnitude earthquake and cut production by 100,000 tons.
But there is still a huge demand for copper today, because this metal affects pretty much every aspect of our lives: telecommunications, electricity, pipelines, agriculture. All of these and many other industries are highly dependent on copper production. For this reason, Rio Tinto decided to move the copper mining underground. The artificial Bingham Canyon, 1 kilometer deep and 4 kilometers wide, will remain as a monument, covering an area of 1,900 acres. But beneath it, a new mine of colossal proportions will be formed, capable of swallowing up a small city.