Saturday, June 5, 2010

The Big Hole or "Groot Gat" largest hand dug hole in the world

Kinda odd talking about Big Holes
A few people have asked me about the "Groot Gat" or big hole but then again Groot Gat can also mean big ass in Afrikaans. So I always begin by asking whether they talking about my ex or Kimberly the mine. The Big Hole which is also known by its other name, Kimberley Mine, in South Africa is the world’s largest hole which humans excavated. It was dug by 50.000 miners who were working in the diamond mine after first diamonds were found there in the 19th century. They dug an amazing amount of diamonds, precisely, 2720 kilograms of diamonds to be exact

Even more amazing is the that workers who worked there were not using any advanced tools or machines while thy were digging. The hole was dug between 1871 and 1914 when there weren’t any advanced machines for digging so, they literally dug this hole by hands using some very basic tools like picks and shovels. Using these basic tools workers managed to move an amazing 22 million tons of soil and rock

The Big Hole is about 215 meters deep and 463 meters wide. After the mine was abandoned because it became too dangerous for miners to dig further, the mine was shut down. However, the company De Beers Brothers who owned that mine continued with diamonds exploration by underground mining

After excavation was finished, this place started to fill with underground water and, as you can see from photos, it looks now like a lake. Water took about 20% (40 meters) of the depth of whole hole. Today there is a museum and some of the old town has been preserved and is quite charming