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Giant sinkhole suddenly appears in Chile

A giant sinkhole 25 metres wide and an estimated 200 metres deep has suddenly opened near a copper mine in Chile, prompting officials to launch an investigation.
The National Service of Geology and Mining, also known as Sernageomin, announced it had become aware of the gaping void on Saturday.

It appeared in an agricultural area outside of Tierra Amarilla in the Atacama region, about 665km north of Santiago, on a plot of land owned by Canadian mining company Lundin Mining.

The sinkhole opened up in Chile on land owned by a Canadian mining company.
The sinkhole opened up in Chile on land owned by a Canadian mining company. ( Sernageomin)
The sinkhole is approximately 25 meters in diameter.
The sinkhole is approximately 25 metres in diameter. (Supplied)
“There is a considerable distance, approximately 200 metres, to the bottom,” David Montenegro, Sernageomin’s director, said in a statement.

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

Sernageomin officials are now preparing a technical report on the sinkhole.

A security perimeter of 100 metres has also been established around the sinkhole.

“This event did not affect people, equipment or facilities both inside and on the surface of the mine,” Montenegro said.

“The company suspended the work located in the vertical of the sinkhole, trying, at all times, to protect the people who work in Alcaparrosa.

“In the same way, Minera Ojos del Salado fenced the perimeter of the sinkhole to protect the community.”

Giant sinkhole opens up in Chile

Giant sinkhole opens near Chilean copper mine

It’s unclear at this time what caused the sinkhole to form.

The United States Geological Survey (USGS) defines sinkholes as “a closed natural depression in the ground surface caused by removal of material below the ground and either collapse or gradual subsidence of the surface into the resulting void”.