My friend shared this post on my wall, but I got doubt: How can a hole like this create air currents which suck helicopterss also? I didn't really understand.

enter image description here

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    $\begingroup$ It doesn't generate air currents, the text below the picture are false. I think it is a good example, why to never underestimate the physics/engineering incompetence of the journalists. $\endgroup$ – peterh Jun 19 '17 at 3:31
  • $\begingroup$ Btw, the question is in my opinion ontopic, and useful - as an example. $\endgroup$ – peterh Jun 19 '17 at 3:31
  • $\begingroup$ Here is a link dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3741956/… $\endgroup$ – anna v Jun 19 '17 at 4:30

The text seems to be very sensationalist. If this was the case then there would be a no fly zone over the grand canyon.

The one explanation I can think of is a draft due to the temperature difference at the top and bottom of the hole. The temperature at a great depth is much higher than that at the surface, and this causes a draft of cold air from the surface to the depths of the hole.

A naive helicopter might end up hitting the sides (and consecutively fall in) or something (if it happens to hover over the hole while not having enough lift) but calling it "sucking" is too narrative-ey.


In the link that reproduces the photo it is said that temperatures in Siberia on the ground can be as low as -40C.

The chimney effect is used for generating power , so this might act as a solar updraft tower :

The solar updraft tower (SUT) is a renewable-energy power plant for generating electricity from low temperature solar heat. Sunshine heats the air beneath a very wide greenhouse-like roofed collector structure surrounding the central base of a very tall chimney tower. The resulting convection causes a hot air updraft in the tower by the chimney effect.

This demonstrates that winds with a lot of power can be generated by temperature differentials.

As the open mine is closed but there exists tunnel mining, air will be renewed from where the tunnels are being used and a strong updraft due to maybe 60C or 70C temperature differential from top to bottom could create unexpected and dangerous for helicopter air turbulence for a helicopter.

  • $\begingroup$ Is it possible that the prevailing winds of the area are affected as they cross over the hole creating a turbulence? $\endgroup$ – Bill Alsept Jun 19 '17 at 5:23
  • $\begingroup$ @BillAlsept do you mean stronger than the updraft of the chimney? Helicopters would know of strong winds and fly accordingly. It is the unexpected that is dangerous, imo. $\endgroup$ – anna v Jun 19 '17 at 5:51

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