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What's the single largest man-made structure on Earth?

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grabagrannie
463635.  Tue Dec 23, 2008 8:56 am Reply with quote

I am happy to accept TBOGI's information that the answer is the Fresh Kills landfill on Staten Island.
However, if we were not thinking of a solid structure, but rather the reverse of it, i.e. not a pyramid sticking up, but a hole in the ground pointing down, would the answer be the same? A quarry is a thing built by man and so, in a way, it is a structure.
I have found three claimants to the title 'World's largest quarry', one in North Carolina, one in Ohio, and one in Utah. Unfortunately, I haven't found any details of the sizes of these quarries. Perhaps one of you may know where to find this sort of information, and then be able to compare it with the size of the Fresh Kills site.

 
TheElephant
463850.  Tue Dec 23, 2008 3:10 pm Reply with quote

I can't help you with a direct answer on that one I'm afraid, but I remember reading about a big hole in Russia that may be a candidate.
(I think it was a diamond mine featured on googlesightseeing).




....indeed, it was:

http://googlesightseeing.com/2005/11/26/siberian-diamond-mine/



(They seem to have better res on google maps since that was first featured too. Much better than I remember it.)

 
bobwilson
464147.  Tue Dec 23, 2008 11:45 pm Reply with quote

Erm - doesn't the interweb count as a man-made structure?

 
Celebaelin
464211.  Wed Dec 24, 2008 5:58 am Reply with quote

More an orifice than an edifice.

 
grabagrannie
464645.  Wed Dec 24, 2008 3:11 pm Reply with quote

The internet and a few other things are mentioned in TBOGI, but it and the others were considered too spread out, not cohesive enough to qualify.
How could you arrive at a volume for the internet? I wouldn't like to try.

 
grabagrannie
473742.  Thu Jan 08, 2009 5:56 pm Reply with quote

I've had an answer from one of the "world's largest quarries" I found by googling. They say that they operate
Quote:
the world’s largest deep-hole, dimensional granite quarry in the world. We make no claim to have the world’s largest quarry; we must qualify that as a deep-hole, dimension granite quarry. The open pit copper mines (quarries) in the US mid-west certainly dwarf anything we have here. The reason for that is that we must slowly cut granite and extract it, good and bad; whereas, tons upon tons of ore are removed quickly in the copper extraction process.

That qualifier in place, we believe we have the world’s largest operating deep-hole, dimensional granite quarry. It is nearly 600 feet in depth and covers about 50 square acres in surface area.

I guess I need to ask about the copper mines. By the way, TBOGI doesn't tell us exactly (or approximately) how big the Fresh Kills landfill site is. It says it is 12 sq.km. in area and it was 25 m higher than the Statue of Liberty (93 m). But is it peaky at the top or flattened? If it was 118 m high, how high is it now? What we need to know is the volume of it.
[I noticed the "square acres".]

 
eggshaped
473976.  Fri Jan 09, 2009 6:01 am Reply with quote

I think that this question is one of those where everyone has different ideas of what constitutes a structure and how you decide what is "biggest".

Overall, our answer is Fresh Kills, which we stand by, but we're happy to listen to other ideas - Jimmy Carr said "Holland" (presumably he meant "the netherlands") for instance. We're just happy that people take up the debate.

 
misterchris
473993.  Fri Jan 09, 2009 6:22 am Reply with quote

I thought there was a big diamond mine in South Africa that could qualify as one of the largest man made structures.

 
austinallegro
474001.  Fri Jan 09, 2009 6:27 am Reply with quote

http://www.stumbleupon.com/url/officespam.chattablogs.com/archives/041001.html

Methinks the candiate of Siberian diamond mine would be right then.

 
AndyMcH
474006.  Fri Jan 09, 2009 6:35 am Reply with quote

Can a quarry or a mine, which is essentially a hole be included?

 
grabagrannie
474057.  Fri Jan 09, 2009 7:07 am Reply with quote

I think a quarry or a mine is worthy of consideration, at least. It is sort of lateral thinking, but that seems to be what a lot of the QI answers to many questions are. For instance, the coolest place in the universe is not the place that is coolest all the time, but a place that was coolest for a short time. When TBOGI asks, "Where is the highest mountain?" it doesn't mean "where is the highest mountain in the world?". [If you start asking questions like this, i.e "Where is the highest mountain (anywhere)?" then my answer would be "Nobody knows", since there may be higher mountains on planets we know nothing about. Of course, if you ask "Where is the highest mountain that we know of?" it gives the game away, that the answer is not likely to be Everest.]
These holes in the ground are just as man-made as a building or rubbish dump. The question is, is it a 'structure'? The dictionary (Chambers) gives one meaning as 'A thing constructed' which leads me to 'construct', which means 'to make'. So, a hole is a thing that is made, so it's a structure!(QED). ;-)

 
Daze Off
477066.  Mon Jan 12, 2009 9:14 am Reply with quote

I think the biggest man-made 'thing' on the planet is the Argyll Diamond Mine in South Africa?? It has to be something De Beers wrecks to get them, but it could be the Great Wall of China

 
Alfred E Neuman
477790.  Tue Jan 13, 2009 2:50 am Reply with quote

Daze Off wrote:
I think the biggest man-made 'thing' on the planet is the Argyll Diamond Mine in South Africa?? It has to be something De Beers wrecks to get them, but it could be the Great Wall of China


The Argyle diamond mine is in Australia, not South Africa. It's also owned by Rio Tinto, not de Beers.

It is located in Kimberley in Australia, which might have been named after Kimberley in South Africa, but it might also just be a coincidence that they each have a large diamond mine. John Wodehouse, 1st Earl of Kimberley was the British Secretary of State for the Colonies at that time, so it's also possible that they were each named after him, independently.

The big hole in Kimberley (South Africa) has always been claimed as the world's largest (or deepest) hand dug mine, but even that distinction seems to be false, as the Jagersfontein mine was dug to 201m by hand. The big hole is a lot deeper than that (mostly filled with water now) but the deeper diggings were not by hand.

From what I can work out, Orapa mine in Botswana is the world's largest diamond mine, with a surface area of 1.18 square kilometres. It's owned by Debswana, a joint venture between de Beers and the Botswanan government. It isn't the largest mine in the world though, the Bingham Canyon Mine in Utah is 7.7 square km. It's another of Rio Tinto's mines.

They're quite fussy about security in their diamond mines. You undress in a changeroom, walk naked through to change into clothing provided by the mine, and reverse the process when you leave. Not much ever comes out after it's gone in - if they can't fix something on site, they shove it to one side and buy a new one - imagine trying to search every hiding place on a truck or bulldozer.



Patched a spelling mistake...


Last edited by Alfred E Neuman on Tue Jan 13, 2009 4:08 pm; edited 2 times in total

 
mr2mk1g
477957.  Tue Jan 13, 2009 6:23 am Reply with quote

What about roads? Would they fall under the exclusion mentioned above re the internet?

Some of the longer ones must truly cover a massive square footage, weigh a huge amount and have a very great mass when you consider the feet of stone and gravel foundations, concrete and road surface, never mind the on/off ramps, bridges and "street furniture" such as signage, lighting, central barriers or even the massive amounts of drainage constructed as part of a road.

They are well defined (as in, simply state that you are referring to the A1 or Route 66 or something) and almost always contiguous along the entire length.

I understand the longest road the world is considered to be the Pan-American Highway. It stretches 15,000 miles. Think of all those thousands of miles or concrete, stone foundations, gravel and blacktop. Surely this sort of structure must come into consideration when looking at man's "largest" constructions? I wouldn’t be surprised at all if 15,000 miles worth of road has a greater mass than even the biggest of the world's mines.

Whilst Guinness apparently still lists it as the world's longest road I understand it has a break in it at one point of some 54 miles and therefore fall foul of my self impost contiguous requirement, above. It nonetheless serves as a fairly good example of how roads could be rather heavy hitters in this category.

 
Starfish13
478096.  Tue Jan 13, 2009 8:29 am Reply with quote

mr2mk1g wrote:
I understand the longest road the world is considered to be the Pan-American Highway. It stretches 15,000 miles. Think of all those thousands of miles or concrete, stone foundations, gravel and blacktop. Surely this sort of structure must come into consideration when looking at man's "largest" constructions? I wouldn’t be surprised at all if 15,000 miles worth of road has a greater mass than even the biggest of the world's mines.

Whilst Guinness apparently still lists it as the world's longest road I understand it has a break in it at one point of some 54 miles and therefore fall foul of my self impost contiguous requirement, above. It nonetheless serves as a fairly good example of how roads could be rather heavy hitters in this category.


The Darién Gap, between Panama and Colombia, is the missing section of the route. The straight-line separation of the ends of the route is about 100 km (62 statute miles).

 

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