A pit doubled in size in Chile, where it grew enough to inundate the French Arc de Triomphe and prompted officials to order work to stop at a nearby copper mine.
The crater, which appeared on July 30, is 160 feet long and drops 656 feet. A Seattle space needle would fit snugly into the black hole, as would six statues of Christ the Redeemer from Brazil stacked face-to-face, giant arms outstretched.
The National Geological and Mining Service said late Saturday it was still investigating the hole punch near the Alcaparrosa mine operated by Canada’s Lundin Mining LUN.TO, about 413 miles north of Santiago.
In addition to ordering all work to be halted, the Geology and Mining Service said it had begun a “sanctioning process.” The agency did not provide details of what this measure would include.
Lundin did not immediately respond to a request for comment. The company said last week that the hole had not affected workers or members of the community and that it was working to determine the cause.
Lundin owns 80% of the property and the rest is owned by Japan’s Sumitomo Corporation.
Initially, the hole near the town of Tierra Amarilla was about 82 feet wide, with water visible at the bottom.
The Geology and Mining Service said it has installed pumps to extract water in the mine and in the next few days will check underground mine chambers for possible over-extraction.
Local officials expressed concern that the Alcaparrosa mine may have submerged underground, destabilizing the surrounding land. It would be “something completely extraordinary,” Cristóbal Zuniga, the mayor of Tierra Amarilla, told local media.
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