Evidence suggests that the giant hole in Chile continues to increase in size and is already threatening local communities in the Atacama region, in the northern half of the country. In the first measurement, the sinkhole was 25 meters in diameter. Now it has gone to 32m. The hole is more than 64 meters deep – almost the size of a 20-story building.
The hole is close to the Alcaparrosa mine, in the commune of Tierra Amarilla. The mine belongs to the mining company Candelaria, which was carrying out mining works near the site. The main suspect is that the operation opened the hole, but until now, its origin remains a mystery.
Of most concern is the impact of the hole on Chile’s local communities. The opening is just 600 meters away from two villages and a health centre. “This is a fear that we have had as a community for a long time because we are surrounded by mining deposits,” Tierra Amarilla mayor Cristóbal Zúñiga told Chilean CNN.
“We are concerned that this [abrir um buraco] could happen somewhere else around here. If you pay attention, you can hear how it keeps moving, keeps growing.” Zúñiga demanded that the authorities confirm whether or not the hole is the result of mining.
Atacama governor Mario Vargas told the Argentine newspaper La Nación This isn’t the first time something like this has happened. According to him, other holes have already been recorded before – although this is the biggest of all.
Mining company Candelária said that it does not know what may have motivated the hole and that it will collaborate with the authorities to identify possible causes. Chile’s National Geology and Mining Service (Sernageomin) analyzes the situation. “We are not going to stop until we have results”, said the national director of the sector, David Montenegro, also to CNN Chile.