Filed under: scientific research
The deepest man-made hole on Earth.
Over forty years ago, researchers in the Soviet Union began an ambitious drilling project whose goal was to penetrate the Earth’s upper crust and sample the warm, mysterious area where the crust and mantle intermingle– the Mohorovičić discontinuity, or “Moho.” So deep is this area that the Russian scientists had to invent new ways of drilling, and some of their new methods proved quite inventive. But despite the valiant effort which spanned several decades, the Russians never reached their goal, and many of the Earth’s secrets were left undiscovered. The work done by the Soviets did, however, provide a plethora of information about what lies just beneath the surface, and it continues to be scientifically useful today. The project is known as the Kola Superdeep Borehole.
In 1970 Russian geologists started drilling into the Kola Peninsula, near Finland, hoping to learn more about Earth’s enigmatic insides. After 22 years of digging, work had to stop when the crust turned gooey under the drill bit; at 356 degrees Fahrenheit, the underground rock was much hotter than expected at that depth. The result of the scientists’ grand effort: a tunnel as wide as a cantaloupe extending all of 7.6 miles down.
The deepest hole drilled by man on Earth is located on the Kola Peninsula and is currently called “Kola Superdeep Borehole” (KSDB). It is east of Finland in Russia. It’s 12km north of the city, Zapolyarniy. of the drilling facilities. Of the drill site.
The dig began in 1970 and the Soviet’s goal was to reach the “Mohorovičić discontinuity” or “Moho” which is where the crust and mantle intermingle. They never reached their goal and the hole currently is “only” 7 miles (12.262 km) deep. That’s 40,230 feet.
The previous record holder was the Bertha Rogers well in Oklahoma. It was a gas well and it stopped at 32,000 feet when it struck molten sulfur. stink-o. Most normal oil wells go 10,000 to 16,000 feet deep.
The purpose of the Kola Superdeep Borehole is not for oil/gas development or other monetary value. Its purpose is strictly for science. sweet. Digging really deep holes for the study of science began about 30 years. So far, 13 countries have drilled nearly 100 holes in continents across the globe, 20 of which are between four to five kilometers deep.
The Russian researchers were also surprised at how quickly the temperatures rose as the borehole deepened, which is the factor that ultimately halted the project’s progress. Despite the scientists’ efforts to combat the heat by refrigerating the drilling mud before pumping it down, at twelve kilometers the drill began to approach its maximum heat tolerance. At that depth researchers had estimated that they would encounter rocks at 100°C (212°F), but the actual temperature was about 180°C (356°F)– much higher than anticipated. At that level of heat and pressure, the rocks began to act more like a plastic than a solid, and the hole had a tendency to flow closed whenever the drill bit was pulled out for replacement. Forward progress became impossible without some technological breakthroughs and major renovations of the equipment on hand, so drilling stopped on the SG-3 branch. If the hole had reached the initial goal of 15,000 meters, temperatures would have reached a projected 300°C (572°F).
When drilling stopped in 1994, the hole was over seven miles deep (12,262 meters), making it by far the deepest hole ever drilled by humankind. The last of the cores to be plucked from from the borehole were dated to be about 2.7 billion years old
Several types of mines can be found around the world. Mines that might be considered the world’s deepest are either open-pit or vertical shaft mines. Vertical shaft mines hold the record for being the deepest mines in the world. Most are located in South Africa due to its abundance of diamond and gold deposits. As of 2003 the deepest mine is the East Rand mine at 3585 meters, but as technology improves and the search for natural resources continues many mines are constantly being deepened. In the next few years, the Western Deep mine will reach 5 km.
Many problems arise when digging so deep into the Earth. The most obvious is the heat. For example, at 5 km the temperature reaches 70 degrees Celsius and therefore massive cooling equipment is needed to allow workers to survive at such depths. Another problem is the weight of the rock. For example, at 3.5 km the pressure of rocks above you is 9,500 tones per meter squared, or about 920 times normal atmospheric pressure. When rock is removed through mining this pressure triples in the surrounding rock. This effect coupled with the cooling of the rock causes a phenomenon known as rock bursts, which accounts for many of the 250 deaths in South African mines every year.
Krubera cave, the deepest cave in the World, remains at -2191 m, as established by a 46 m deep dive in the terminal siphon in the Main Branch performed during the 2007 Ukr.S.A. expedition.
We can’t TUNNEL to the center of the Earth because it is made of molten iron.
The Kola borehole is by far the deepest one ever dug, yet it reaches a mere 0.2 percent of the way to the core. The rest of Earth’s interior remains as frustratingly out of reach as it was three centuries ago, when astronomer Edmond Halley suggested that our planet was hollow and filled with life. His ideas seem laughable today, but the truth is, when it comes to the inner Earth, no one knows anything for sure.
The questions are so compelling that they inspired one geophysicist to draw up blueprints for a journey to the center of Earth. Nobody is doing it just yet; it would require cracking open the ground and pouring in thousands of tons of liquid metal. But that and other far-fetched ideas may inspire the ambitious projects necessary to catch a glimpse of the core—a place just 3,950 miles below our feet and yet, in many ways, less accessible than the edge of the visible universe, 13.8 billion light-years away.