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A massive sinkhole just discovered in Chile has authorities puzzled

An aerial view shows the large sinkhole that appeared over the weekend near the mining town of Tierra Amarilla, Copiapo Province in Chile.
Johan Godoy
/
AFP via Getty Images
An aerial view shows the large sinkhole that appeared over the weekend near the mining town of Tierra Amarilla, Copiapo Province in Chile.

It's so deep.

At 656 feet from top to bottom, a sinkhole that opened up in Chile over the weekend could fit the Washington Monument inside — with about 100 feet to spare.

Officials are working to determine what caused the massive sinkhole near the mining town of Tierra Amarilla.

The sinkhole is fairly wide too. After it was found on Saturday, the National Geology and Mining Service, also called Sernageomin, first estimated the diameter at about 82 feet wide. But the sinkhole proved to be much larger upon further inspection. On Tuesday, the agency said it's nearly 105 feet wide. (The Washington Monument is only 55 feet wide at its base.)

"We haven't detected any material down there, but we have seen the presence of a lot of water," said agency director David Montenegro in a statement to Reuters.

The land where the sinkhole appeared is owned by Canada's Lundin Mining Corp. and is near the company's Minera Ojos del Salado copper mining operations.

The company said Monday that the sinkhole has remained stable since it was detected.

One of the mines nearby is also being monitored and there has not been movement related to the sinkhole. "As a preventive measure, development work in an area of the Alcaparrosa underground mine has been temporarily suspended ..." the company added.

While investigators are still working to determine the cause of the sinkhole, some folks on Twitter have chimed in with their own theories.

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