Saturday, September 25

These are the deepest holes drilled by humanity | Digital Trends Spanish

What are the secrets that the core of the Earth hides? And while digging a hole might seem like the simplest way to find out, the job is harder than it sounds. Proof of this is that the deepest holes drilled by man they have only been able to penetrate the earth’s crust.

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The Earth’s crust is the outermost layer of the five that –in chemical terms– make up the structure of the Earth. It has a depth that varies between 5 kilometers (oceanic crust) and up to 70 kilometers (continental crust).

Under it, are the upper mantle, the lower mantle (which begins at about 665 kilometers deep), the outer core (which starts at about 2,900 kilometers deep) and the inner core, a solid sphere that begins at about 5,155 kilometers deep.

However, the largest perforations made by man have only been able to penetrate the upper 25 to 30 percent of the earth’s crust (in its continental part), so the content and composition of the inner layers are known to through indirect means, such as earthquakes. These waves allow you to “see” the interior of the Earth, just as X-rays or MRIs are used for the human body.

Only in the al-Hajar Mountains, Oman, is there an exposed section of the Earth’s mantle. However, it is a sample that was last inside the Earth millions of years ago.

Mohole Project, Mexico

Mohole project works. National Academy of Sciences / Flickr

Considered the largest scientific effort to drill into Earth, the Mohole project began in 1961 off the coast of Mexico, where the crust is shallow. However, funding from the American Miscellaneous Society (AMSOC) ran out in 1966 and the initiative was terminated.

The objective was to reach the Mohorovicic discontinuity, known colloquially as “Moho”, which is considered the limit between the earth’s crust and the upper mantle.

However, the drilling only went as deep as 3.6 kilometers. It is estimated that in the area where they were excavating, the discontinuity is located about 4.8 kilometers deep. Despite the failure, important samples were obtained and the project provided important insights into deepwater drilling.

Bertha Rogers, Oklahoma

The Bertha Rogers well, located in Washita, Oklahoma, is the deepest hole in the United States. It began being drilled in the first half of the 1970s by The Lone Star Producing Company, which was looking for hydrocarbons.

However, work was stopped at a depth of 9.5 kilometers (6 miles), when work collided with molten sulfur, which solidified the machinery. Additionally, a pressure of 25,000 psi was recorded. It was the deepest excavation in the world until 1979.

Although no hydrocarbons were found, the drilling was taken advantage of by Granite Wash, which plugged the hole and extracted natural gas from about 3.3 kilometers deep. The well stopped producing in July 1997.

Kola, Russia

Kola Well
Kola Well Facilities. Andre Belozeroff / Panoramio

The world’s deepest hole for scientific purposes is located on Russia’s Kola Peninsula near Murmansk. The Kola Superdepper it began to be drilled by the former Soviet Union in 1970 for scientific purposes. After five years of work, he had already reached 7 kilometers.

Kola’s work was extended to reach 12.2 kilometers in 1989. The initiative was halted due to the rig jamming. It is estimated that the project cost more than $ 100 million until it was canceled.

Although it is the deepest hole for scientific purposes in the world in 2008 it was surpassed by the Al Shaheen oil well in Qatar, which in 2011 reached a total length of 12.3 kilometers,

The project also inspired the Russian horror film The Superdeep, whose plot centers on a group of investigators and the military investigating reports of a disease outbreak at a secret underground facility.

Bavaria, Germany

KTB project
KTB project facilities. KTB

The KTB super deep well (German Continental Deep Drilling Program) was an initiative of the German government deployed in the town of Windischeschenbach, Bavaria, and which reached a depth of 9.1 kilometers.

The program sought to study the properties and processes of the continental crust. He used a head that was capable of withstanding between 250 ° C and 300 ° C, a temperature expected to be recorded at a depth of 10 to 14 kilometers. However, during the excavations, 260 ° C was already recorded.

The works began in 1987 and ended in 1995. From then until 2001, the facilities were used by the German Research Center for Geosciences to install a deep seismic observatory.

Japan Trench, Japan

In 2021, a group of Japanese researchers seeking to understand the origin of major earthquakes set the record for scientific drilling in the ocean. Aboard the Japanese research ship Kaimei, scientists drilled a hole in the so-called Japan Trench, the epicenter of the magnitude 9.1 earthquake that destroyed the Fukushima nuclear plant.

After two hours and 40 minutes of work, the team extracted a sediment sample just over 8.02 kilometers deep (8,023 meters), exceeding the 7.03 kilometers (7,044 meters) that the drillship had achieved. Glomar Challenger.

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