Concern and various theories about the huge sinkhole that appeared in the Atacama

The National Geology and Mining Service (Sernageomin) of Chile investigation into the sudden appearance of a huge sinkhole, approximately 32 meters in diameter and 64 meters deep, in an area near the Alcaparrosa mine, in the Atacama region. Neither the miners nor the scientists know, for the moment, where the hole comes from.

On its Twitter account, the public body reported that the hole was detected on Saturday July 30. It was discovered by a resident of the town of Tierra Amarilla, the closest to the mine, and confirmed by the Canadian mining company Lundin Mining. Immediately, the area was cordoned off and work nearby was suspended.

The mayor of Tierra Amarilla, Cristóbal Zúñiga, expressed his concern, since the hole is located a short distance from a residential area —The nearest house is 600 meters away—. “It worries us because it is still active, it continues to grow and it is something that has never been seen in our community. We ask for the reason to be clarified: if it is a collapse of underground mining activity or if it is of a different nature,” he said in a video shared. on Facebook.

To this respect, He asked to end “once and for all” with “abuse and excessive pollution” of mining companies. “We also find it worrying that the company is intervening in the river bed. We believe that when permits are issued for this mining company to continue operating, the authorities are not doing the work that corresponds to being able to see what damage this is causing. and what are the risks generated by the mining activity”.

Contrary to what Zúñiga said, the Canadian mining company maintains that “the surface sinkhole has remained stable since detection”. “There is a considerable distance, about 200 meters to the bottom,” said Sernageomin’s director in a statement, collected by Reuters. “We did not detect any material on the bottom, but we saw a lot of water present,” he adds.

In a conversation with the newspaper Las Últimas Noticias, Diego Zamorano, from the NGO Red Geocientífica de Chile, pointed out that “among the most probable origins is the extraction of water from underground layers; however, in this situation, the origin seems to be associated with the collapse of tunnels or certain underground excavations as a result of mining.

Among other causes, the expert pointed out that it can be acid rain or manipulation of water flowswhich would have generated gaps, although it is not always related to mining activity.

On the other hand, Zamorano was also struck by the fact that the chasm is perfectly circular. “Everything is deteriorating. Collapse starts from one point and then expands symmetrically outward, generating circles (…) It is also nature’s way of expending less energy in the process, as it does not prefer not one direction to another,” the expert said.

Mina Alcaparrosa is part of the Mina Candelaria complex, one of the main operations in the Atacama region. The minerals present in the subsoil of this area make Chile the largest exporter of copper in the world.

Theodore Davis

"Entrepreneur. Amateur gamer. Zombie advocate. Infuriatingly humble communicator. Proud reader."

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