Giant sinkhole in Chile widens to length of Olympic swimming pool

A large sinkhole has doubled in width since opening, now spanning 50 meters (164 ft), enough to cover the entire length of an Olympic-sized swimming pool.

The hole opened near an underground copper mine in Chile in late July. It stretches a full 200 meters (656 ft) down – long enough to fit two copies of the Statue of Liberty on top of each other.

Special teams of geologists from Chile’s National Service of Geology and Mining, Cernegiomin, were initially dispatched to the Alcaparosa site, operated by Canada’s Lundin Mining Corporation and located 665 km north of the capital, Santiago.

Sharing aerial photos of the massive sinkhole, Cernegiomin said on Twitter that he had issued orders to immediately stop work in the area to assess the situation.

Agency on Saturday said That investigation is still ongoing.

In a statement last week, Lundin Mining said no workers or community members were affected by the sinkhole, which appeared to be filled with “a lot of water”.

It said development work in the Alcaparosa underground mine area has been temporarily halted as a precautionary measure and is being continuously monitored.

“The nearest house is more than 600m (1,969ft) away Sinkhole While any populated area or public service is almost one kilometer away from the affected area,” the company said.

A sinkhole near the town of Tierra Amarilla in Copiapó, Chile found no material, but contained a ‘high water presence’


David Montenegro, the director of Cernegiomin, said that they did not find any material inside the sinkhole, but that it contained a large amount of water.

“About 200 meters (656 feet) to the bottom is quite a distance,” Mr Montenegro said. “We didn’t find any material there, but we did see the presence of a lot of water.”

Aerial view of a sinkhole exposed in a mining area near the town of Tierra Amarilla in Copiapo, Chile


Lundin Mining controls 80 percent of the property while Japan’s Sumitomo Corporation holds the rest.

News of the sinkhole follows an incident in which a woman in New Zealand was seriously injured after falling into a geothermal sinkhole at a popular tourist destination.

An Australian woman was swallowed by a two-metre-wide hole that suddenly opened up on a footpath in the central North Island.

In May, a giant sinkhole discovered in China was found to contain a forest of 131-foot-tall trees.

Reuters contributed to this report

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