Monster machine leaves a big trail in Germany

This coal mine in the German state of North Rhine-Westphalia is home to one of the world's biggest mechanical monsters.

Rolling through the Hambach, one of Germany's largest surface mines, a massive bucket-wheel excavator gouges away at the earth to reach the coal deposits buried underneath.

Called Bagger 293, it is about 220m long, 50m wide, 100m tall, and weighs over 14,000 tonnes.

According to the Guinness Book of Records, it is the world's largest and heaviest land vehicle.

The machine scoops up soil using a massive spinning wheel, leaving behind sharp geometric patterns in the land, as seen in this photograph.

This digging process continues until deposits of lignite, also known as brown coal, are revealed. Lignite is commonly used as fuel in power stations to generate electricity.

This shot by photographic artist Edward Burtynsky is part of his new multidisciplinary project, Anthropocene, which explores the idea proposed by some scientists that a geological epoch shaped by human activity has begun.

It is the fourth of a series featuring his unsettling images that explore the impact of humanity on the planet.

TOMORROW: Morenci Mine in Arizona, United States.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 04, 2019, with the headline 'Monster machine leaves a big trail'. Print Edition | Subscribe