Morenci - Biggest Copper Mine in USA
This is Morenci, Arizona - a town where they literally move mountains. It all began in 1869 when military Lieutenant John G. Bourke, out on a scouting expedition, noted the presence of rich copper deposits in the vicinity. His men took pieces of nearly pure copper ore back to Tucson to share the news of their discovery. A hundred and forty years have passed since that day - this is the result.
As with places like Whitewater Canyon, the outrageously large size of the locale means that it is pretty difficult to take photographs appropriately illustrating the scene - but I tried my best, and this panorama gives you some idea of how far the activity stretches. The terraced step effect you can see on some of the slopes are tracks for heavy duty vehicles like this one.
Almost everything you see in the landscape of this photograph, bar one or two small slivers of dirt, could now be considered 'man made'. All of the rock in these gigantic mountains has been mined, stripped of its minerals and dumped back in place. The mine has been active for almost a century and a half, but the pace of progress in the modern era is almost scary in its intensity. Over a million tons of rock is wrested from the ground every day in an operation that never pauses for breath, working right round the clock to supply the world with minerals and metals.