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5. Derinkuyu Underground City
Possibly the most notable underground city in the world, after centuries of digging, Derinkuyu shows how people could live underground if necessary. This Unesco World Heritage Site is located in Eastern Turkey, dating back to the 5th century AD and is approximately 200 feet below ground. It’s big enough to house at least 20,000 people as well as livestock and food storage. Christians began to build churches in Cappadocia as early as the first century AD. They began seeking refuge in these mountains but also underground here, which this historical area is mostly known for. If you venture underground here, you’ll notice how its origins are from ancient Hittites but everything a normal city would have, this place would also have, Home to schools, cellars, storage rooms, churches, and even livestock, this underground city reached its peak around 700 AD to 1180 AD while it was protecting civilians.
4. Lake Vostok Hole
It’s not always solid rock that needs to be removed in order to create a large hole. Russian scientists in antarctica were faced with a difficult challenge in order to reach the surface of Lake Vostok. A liquid water lake on this continent is below about 2.2 miles of ice and researchers had predicted that life could be thriving underneath all that. There are some places in antarctica that aren’t completely frozen with ice but this isn’t one of them. Researchers took on the challenge and they managed to drill the hole all the way until they reached the water. What they found was shocking. They uncovered a thriving ecosystem that has been sealed off for the past 15 million years from the rest of the world. It’s believed that there are hydrothermal vents down below and we know how crazy things like to live in those vents. This would lead us to believe that animals could also thrive in oceans below ice sheets on other places in our solar system such as europa. Lake vostok is just one of and estimated 400 lakes under ice lakes across antarctica so you have to wonder what else is under there.
3. Big Hole
Yes the person who came up with the name of this place wasn’t very creative. Also known as the Kimberley Mine this is a massive 1500 foot wide underground mine in South Africa that was created by hand despite some disputes on the claim. South Africa is known for their high quality diamonds and a large majority of them were found here at this big hole. An estimated 6000 pounds of diamonds were uncovered here and the hole was dug up using only shovels and pickaxes with work from the natives. Eventually the mine was closed in 1914 due to the sheer number of lives lost and the lack of production. It goes down about 790 feet from the surface of the earth but when the workers were gone, it basically turned into a big lake. The lake itself if about 150 feet deep but who knows if it might eventually spill over eventually if it continues to rain.
2. Bingham Canyon Mine
Dating back to over 100 year ago, the Bingham Canyon mine is considered to be the largest man-made excavation on the planet. It’s located not too far from Salt Lake City and this place is still actively mining copper. It’s crazy to think how humans can just dig out a huge chunk of crust from earth with enough motivation. It keeps on getting bigger and bigger though! The workers can move as much as 250,000 tons of earth each day and it’s so big that massive landslides can be triggered by small earthquakes. This mine is so massive that if it were a stadium it could fit the population of the entire country of belarus which is about 9.5 million people! It’s about 2.5 miles wide at its widest and it’s getting so big, the inhabitants of Salt Lake City are concerned it might affect their water supply.
1. Grasberg Mine
Located in the highest mountain in Papua New Guinea is not only the world’s largest gold mine but the 3rd largest copper mine in the world and a decent producer of silver as well. It goes down below an impressive 1800 feet below the surface, stretching a mile wide. and plans to make it even bigger are in effect. . It has a total workforce of 19,500 worker. Does Grasberg sound like an indonesian name to you? No? That’s because it’s run by a corporation that’s not indonesian. There’s been a lot of environmental concern over this mine considering the fact that it’s on top of a mountain and rainfall can lead to contamination of areas at the bottom of the mine. Some people feel as though the mine is not nearly as profitable to the people of Papua New Guinea as it should be and all it really does is pollute their land. This produced 862,000 ounces of gold in 2012 meaning over a billion dollars! And only a miniscule fraction of that is given to the workers.