Sinkhole bigger than tennis court appears in desert – and is 200m deep

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An enormous sinkhole larger than a tennis court has opened up in a desert in Chile, South America.

Experts were dispatched to the Atacama desert to look at what turned out to be a 25-meter wide and roughly 200-meter deep sinkhole which opened up out of nowhere.

A security perimeter of 100 meters has been set up around the hole, which has appeared near a copper mine.

READ MORE: Bloke swallowed up by sinkhole in swimming pool tragedy that sucked him 15m underground

Operated by Canadian firm Lundin Mining, the Alcaparrosa mine has seen "no impact to personnel, equipment or infrastructure," the company said in a statement.

They added that to be safe, “development work in an area of the Alcaparrosa underground mine has been temporarily suspended".

The gaping hole has left people in Chile scratching their heads, although it has remained stable since it first appeared.

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It is located 665km north of Chile’s capital Santiago, and has been said by Lundin to be filled with “a lot of water” but no material has been found.

The company added: “The closest home is more than 600m (1,969ft) away from the sinkhole while any populated area or public service are almost a kilometre away from the affected zone.”

Experts from Sernageomin, the National Geology and Mining Service, are working to understand what caused the collapse of the layer of ground.

The service's director David Montenegro said the research was being carried out to "ensure that all safety measures are taken to safeguard the lives of workers and communities close to the site.

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"We ask that the cause be clarified: whether the collapse is the product of mining activity or something else."

He added: "There is a considerable distance, approximately 200 metres (656ft), to the bottom.

“We haven’t detected any material down there, but we have seen the presence of a lot of water.”


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