China digging 10,000-meter hole for Cretaceous system

China digging 10,000-meter hole for Cretaceous system

2023-06-01 15:23:00

Scientists have begun digging one of the deepest holes on Earth in the Tarim Basin, Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region, China. The excavation that began this Wednesday (31) aims to identify mineral resources and help assess environmental risks, such as volcanic eruptions and earthquakes.

The hole will reach a depth of about 10,000 meters, the deepest ever made in China. About 10 layers will be excavated until the rocks of the Cretaceous Period are reached, in the layer known as the Cretaceous System, formed about 145 million years ago.

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the deepest hole

Even if it looks extremely deep, it won’t be the biggest man-made hole in the world. That outpost belongs to the Kola Superdeep Borehole, on the Kola Peninsula, Russia, excavated from May 24, 1970 until after the end of the Soviet Union in 1991, reaching as low as 11,034 meters below sea level.

During the excavation it was noticed that the rocks deep in the Earth were wetter than expected, as it was believed that water did not permeate as deeply. It was also expected that beneath the granite there would be a layer of basalt, just as in the oceanic crust. However, beneath the igneous granite, there was metamorphic granite, evidence of the existence of plate tectonics, which at the time were only theories.

However, digging such deep holes is not that simple, in addition to the heavy material, with around 2,000 tons, a lot of technique is also required.

The construction difficulty of the drilling project can be compared to a large truck driving on two thin steel cables

Sun Jinsheng, engineer, in response to Chinese state agency Xinhua

For those who think that the Russian hole, or the Chinese one, which will be built, managed to reach the Earth’s mantle, don’t get carried away. On average, the earth’s crust is about 30,000 meters thick, and can reach up to 100 kilometers in places with mountain ranges.

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