The deepest hole known to man was dug on a peninsula in northwest Russia. For decades, scientists dug over 40,000 into the earth. It wasn’t until this event that they had to seal up the hole forever.
People have always wanted to discover secrets of the world and out outer space. Since 1957 when the first artificial satellite was created, people have studied the sky, the stars, and the universe.
Due to such intense study and research of outer space, believe think that we have more knowledge of the stars and the planets than we do about what is in the middle of our own planet.
It was during the Cold War during the 1950’s that America and Russia raced for knowledge of the earth’s core. It’s believed that the crust, the outer-most layer, is a total of 30 miles deep with three other layers beneath it.
American’s started Project Mohole in 1958 down in Guadalupe, Mexico. They planned to drill to the core of the earth in the bed of the Pacific Ocean. After eight years, the project was halted and abandoned without success.
Years later, the Soviets took a crack at it. On May 24, 1970, a hole was created on Russia’s Kola Peninsula. Researchers and scientists wanted to dig as far as possible into the earth’s core.
Their goal was to dig 49,000 feet below the earth’s surface. They created boreholes around a center cavity for this project. Meanwhile, America was making some progress of its own.
Lone Star Producing Company was able to dig 31,400 feet (about six miles) beneath the earth’s surface as they drilled for oil in Oklahoma. This hole was named Bertha Rogers Hole.
Even though the company never found oil, they spent five years trying to dig the deepest hole known to man. They lost to the Kola boreholes in 1979. These holes were 39,000 deep and only 9 inches wide.
Researchers took a year-long break at the Kola Peninsula to allow visitors and tourists to come see their work.
By 1989, the hole had reached an amazing 40,230 feet. This was the deepest anyone had ever dug. Researchers estimated that they would reach 44,000 before the millennium.
Someone even predicted that they would reach 49,000 by 1993. Then something happened that changed their plans forever.
As researchers came closer to the center of the earth, the temperature started to rise significantly. It rose to a hot 356 degrees Fahrenheit!
Since the temperature was much hotter than previously predicted, the crew knew that their equipment wasn’t able to handle the heat. They also discovered that the rock was much less dense than rock on the surface. After 22 years, the project was stopped.
Even though they didn’t dig as far as they wanted, researchers still came out with new information. They discovered fossils of marine life at four miles deep and other relics encased in rocks. These findings are thought to be over two billion years old.
Before digging the hole, scientists believed that the rock shifted from granite to basalt two to four miles beneath the surface. This was discovered to not be true.
They only discovered granite rock. Even at its deepest, there was only granite. This was due to change in seismic waves that there was no shift to basalt. Another shocking discovery: they found water flowing!
While some people will say that the flowing water is proof of the floods mentioned in the Bible, scientists explain that it is due to strong pressure that forces hydrogen and oxygen atoms to come out of the rock. This creates flowing water.
The Kola Superdeep Borehole project was shut down the same year the Soviet Union fell in 1995. The site is now considered to be an environmental hazard. You can still see relics of the experiment in Zapolyarny. Even so many years later, researchers still have not dug a hole deeper than this.
The race to the center of the earth isn’t over just yet. The International Ocean Discovery Program is drilling through the ocean’s floor on a quest to discover what secrets lay beneath the earth’s surface.