Mysterious, 105 foot-wide sinkhole appears at mining site in Chile, prompts investigation

A mysterious, giant sinkhole appeared at a mining site in Chile over the weekend, leading authorities to investigate.

In a Monday tweet, Chile’s National Service of Geology and Mining, Sernageomin, announced the sinkhole was 25 meters, or 82 feet, in diameter. By Tuesday, the agency confirmed the sinkhole was actually larger – at almost 105 feet in diameter. That’s about 11 feet longer than an NBA or WBNA basketball court.

Aerial images show the sinkhole near Lundin Mining Corp.’s Alcaparrosa underground copper mine, close to the town of Tierra Amarilla in Chile’s Atacama Desert.

In a Monday statement, Lundin Mining, a Canadian company, said the sinkhole was detected on Saturday. The mining company added that “the area was immediately isolated and the relevant regulatory authorities notified.”

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In a Tuesday news release, Sernageomin said authorities immediately went to the site for safety response and to investigate the sinkhole after learning of its detection.

Both Lundin Mining and Sernageomin confirmed that the sinkhole did not impact the people, equipment, or facilities that were both inside and near the surface of the Alcaparrosa mine.

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According to Lundin Mining, the sinkhole “has remained stable” and “no movement has been detected related to the surficial sinkhole” in the Alcaparrosa mine, part of the company’s Minera Ojos del Salado operations. Still, work in the mine has been temporarily suspended out of caution.

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Minera Ojos del Salado is also “conducting a technical analysis” to determine the sinkhole’s cause, the company said.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Mysterious, 105 foot-wide sinkhole appears at mining site in Chile

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