Bingham Canyon Mine
Although this looks like the site of an alien landing, it is actually the result of 100 plus years of copper mining. The Bingham Canyon Mine is not only the largest open pit copper mine in the world, but it is the largest man made excavation in the world. Located near Salt Lake City, the mine measures 2.5 miles wide by 0.75 miles deep and is visible from space.
Prior to being devoured by mining operations, this was once a canyon surrounded by mountains. The town of Bingham, which was located in the canyon, was literally swallowed up by the mine in the mid 20th century and no longer exists today. The mine is currently ranked 4th on the EPA’s list of toxic chemical releases.
I’m aware that the computer I’m currently typing on would not function without copper, so I make no judgement about the importance of the metal to our society. I simply find it astounding how destructive we, as humans, can sometimes be in our pursuit of productivity.
I took this photo with my iPhone on a recent flight into Salt Lake City, Utah (and was later reprimanded by a stewardess for using an electronic device during landing… sorry?)