published at the New Yorker, July 7th, 2014
While in Maremma, Italy and indulge on my reading, I found this story “Sixty Nine Days” quite extraordinary. It is the ordeal of the Chilean miners in August 2010. Hector Tobar has given an amazing inside of the mountain and the inside of all the miners being trapped and their lives.
photo by Moise Saman (published photo at The New Yorker, July 7, 2014)
….The San José Mine is situated inside a round, rocky, and lifeless mountain in the Atacama Desert, in Chile. Once every dozen years or so, a storm system sweeps across the desert, dropping a torrent of rain. When that happens, the dust turns to mud as thick as freshly poured concrete. Charles Darwin briefly passed through this corner of the Atacama in 1835. In his journal, he described the desert as “a barrier far worse than the most turbulent ocean.”
….In the early-morning hours of August 5th, two thousand feet belowground, the night shift was finishing its work. Men covered in soot and drenched in sweat gathered in one of the caverns, waiting for a truck that would take them on the forty-minute drive to the surface. During their shift, they had noted a wailing rumble in the distance—the sound of many tons of rock falling in forgotten caverns deep inside the mountain. The noise and the vibrations caused by these avalanches were transmitted through the mountain much as lightning strikes travel through the air and the ground. “The mine is weeping a lot,” the men said to one another.