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The Deepest Hole

Article #196 • Written by Alan Bellows

▼ Scroll to Continue ▼

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.

Beginning in 1962, the drilling effort was led by the USSR's Interdepartmental Scientific Council for the Study of the Earth's Interior and Superdeep Drilling, which spent years preparing for the historic project. It was started in parallel to the Space Race, a period of intense competition between the U.S. and U.S.S.R. The survey to find a suitable drill site was completed in 1965 when project leaders decided to drill on the Kola Peninsula in the north-west portion of the Soviet Union. After five more years of construction and preparations, the drill began to nudge its way into the ground in 1970.

Inside the project's 200-foot-tall enclosure resides a unique drilling apparatus. Most deep-drilling rigs use a rotating shaft to bore through the ground-- using a series of extensions which are incrementally added as the hole grows deeper-- but such a method was unworkable with a hole as deep as Kola was planned to be. To overcome this, the Russian researchers devised a solution where only the drill bit at the end of the shaft was rotated. They accomplished this by forcing the pressurized "drilling mud"-- the lubricant pumped down the drill shaft-- through the specially-designed drill bit to cause it to spin.

Today, the deepest hole ever created by humankind lies beneath the tower enclosing Kola's drill. A number of boreholes split from the central branch, but the deepest is designated "SG-3," a hole about nine inches wide which snakes over 12.262 kilometers (7.5 miles) into the Earth's crust. The drill spent twenty-four years chewing its way to that depth, until its progress was finally halted in 1994, about 2.7 kilometers (1.7 miles) short of its 15,000-meter goal.

Core samples from 6 km below the surface
Core samples from 6 km below the surface

The Soviet's drilling rig was designed such that core samples would be provided along the entire length of the drill shaft, providing researchers on the surface with an intimate look at the composition of the Earth as the drill ventured further downward. Before the superdeep borehole project was undertaken, practitioners of Geology had reached a number of conclusions regarding the Earth's deep crust based on observations and seismic data. But as is often the case when humans venture into the unknown, Kola illustrated that certainty from a distance is no certainty at all, and a few scientific theories were left in ruin. One scientist was heard to comment, "Every time we drill a hole we find the unexpected. That's exciting, but disturbing."

To the surprise of the researchers, they did not find the expected transition from granite to basalt at 3-6 kilometers beneath the surface. Data had long shown that seismic waves travel significantly faster below that depth, and geologists had believed that this was due to a "basement" of basalt. Instead, the difference was discovered to be a change in the rock brought on by intense heat and pressure, or metamorphic rock. Even more surprisingly, this deep rock was found to be saturated in water which filled the cracks. Because free water should not be found at those depths, scientists theorize that the water is comprised of hydrogen and oxygen atoms which were squeezed out of the surrounding rocks due to the incredible pressure. The water was then prevented from rising to the surface because of the layer of impermeable rocks above it.

Another unexpected find was a menagerie of microscopic fossils as deep as 6.7 kilometers below the surface. Twenty-four distinct species of plankton microfossils were found, and they were discovered to have carbon and nitrogen coverings rather than the typical limestone or silica. Despite the harsh environment of heat and pressure, the microscopic remains were remarkably intact.

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, or roughly 32 million times older than Abe Vigoda. But even at that depth, the Kola project only penetrated into a fraction of the Earth's continental crust, which ranges from twenty to eighty kilometers thick.

The Kola Core repository in Zapolyarniy
The Kola Core repository in Zapolyarniy

Kola was not the first nor the last attempt at drilling a superdeep borehole, but it has been the most successful so far. In 1957 the United States embarked on a similar project dubbed Project Mohole, but that attempt to drill through the ocean floor was cancelled due to lack of funding. Today, the Integrated Ocean Drilling Program seeks to penetrate the much thinner crust of the ocean floor to probe the Earth's lower crust.

The Kola Superdeep Borehole is still a scientifically useful site, and research there is ongoing. The huge repository of core samples are housed at Zapolyarniy, about 10 kilometers south of the borehole. Today the site is managed by the State Scientific Enterprise on Superdeep Drilling and Complex Investigations in the Earth's Interior as the Deep Geolaboratory.

Update: As of 2008 the Kola drill site has been abandoned. In Soviet Russia, drill bores you.

Article written by Alan Bellows, published on 20 June 2006. Alan is the founder/designer/head writer/managing editor of Damn Interesting.

Article suggested by Scott Crossley.

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110 Comments
Zaphod2016
Posted 20 June 2006 at 06:41 pm

I remember seeing this in the Weekly World News once apon a time.

Of course, if memory serves, they explained that they had ripped open the gates of hell, and that deamons were pouring up out of the Earth.


middlenamefrank
Posted 20 June 2006 at 07:12 pm

The Mohorovičić discontinuity has fascinated me ever since I first heard about it years ago. To my knowledge, nobody has as yet really even hazarded a guess as to what it is, so here's my favorite crackpot theory: I think it's a layer of ballbearings. I believe that the crust of the earth periodically slips, possibly because the built-up weight of ice on the poles, and dramatically reorients itself. That could explain the geologic records of the periodic flips in the earth's magnetic pole (the pole doesn't change at all, just the orientation of all the rocks we study!), help explain why deep sea fossils are found on top of the highest mountains, and maybe even account for a "great flood".

Hey I said it was a crackpot theory!

Next I'll explain why I believe the center of the earth is one gigantic, impure diamond, possibly the size of the moon. :-)


camilos
Posted 20 June 2006 at 07:13 pm

I wonder if its possible to use the earth's core(heat) as an energy source. It would be great, every country would have access to it. I was hoping the article would talk about that possibility.


Steven D
Posted 20 June 2006 at 07:31 pm

camilos said: "I wonder if its possible to use the earth's core(heat) as an energy source. It would be great, every country would have access to it. I was hoping the article would talk about that possibility."

Iceland uses geothermal power to some extent:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Geothermal_power_in_Iceland


Vivendi
Posted 20 June 2006 at 07:56 pm

Ya, Iceland is a big user of geothermal energy. The US also has some geothermal plants, but I don't think we're at the point (or that desperate, Matrix anyone :P) where we can drill deep holes into the earth and use the heat energy from the core effeciently. It would probably end up permanently damaging the Earth.

The problem isn't finding geothermal vents, it's finding the big ones that can econimally feasible.
I did some travel a few years ago in the Himalayas and a Sikh temple there uses a small geothermal vent to cook all the food. Basically the steam is used instead of gas, works great, as long as you don't fall in. There was that distinct mineral smell all over the place though, like the smell you find at big mine sites.


Cass
Posted 20 June 2006 at 08:10 pm

The real danger in digging this deep into the earth is that we could anger the Mole People.


The Random Avenger
Posted 20 June 2006 at 08:14 pm

Vivendi said: "It would probably end up permanently damaging the Earth."

Highly unlikely. Geothermal energy is just repackaged solar energy that is concentrated in one place.


Vivendi
Posted 20 June 2006 at 09:04 pm

The Random Avenger said: "Highly unlikely. Geothermal energy is just repackaged solar energy that is concentrated in one place."

Geothermal energy comes from water coming to contact with magma and being super heated and rising to the surface in geysers. A geothermal plant places generators at the vents and the steam spins the turbines to create electricity.

If not, I'd like to see a source for what you said.


yukon
Posted 20 June 2006 at 10:18 pm

Vivendi said: " It would probably end up permanently damaging the Earth.

LMAO.


Shandooga
Posted 20 June 2006 at 10:27 pm

32 times older than Abe Vigoda? What kind of benchmark is that? George Burns would have been better.


Marisa Brook
Posted 20 June 2006 at 10:57 pm

Why would the Soviet Union have wanted to dig that far down if they didn't get along with China? * grins *


GMan
Posted 20 June 2006 at 11:44 pm

Maybe the bible theory of hell being deep below the earth's surface was true indeed...


PresMatt
Posted 21 June 2006 at 12:02 am

Shandooga said: "32 times older than Abe Vigoda? What kind of benchmark is that? George Burns would have been better."

Dick Clark would have been the ultimate comparison... but then again a 1:1 ratio doesn’t really afford much comparison.

Great story... damn interesting indeed!


someoneisinterested
Posted 21 June 2006 at 02:41 am

I just wonder, if they had dug deep enough, it might have eased the path for a potential Volcano provoking it to erupt and finding no difficulty breaking through the remaining untouched Crust!!! Don't You Think??

It would be like literally watching a REAL "Volcano" movie!!!

I highly doubt President 'Boris Yeltsin' at that time (1994) could have done what 'Tommy Lee Jones' did to save America :)

Especially after Yeltsin's embarrassing situation with the Irish Prime Minister when he 'overslept' in his flight missing out a very important meeting with the Irish party ;) LOL
http://news.bbc.co.uk/onthisday/hi/dates/stories/september/30/newsid_2542000/2542983.stm


CptPicard
Posted 21 June 2006 at 04:54 am

The Random Avenger said: "Highly unlikely. Geothermal energy is just repackaged solar energy that is concentrated in one place."

No it's not. It's leftovers from the collision energies from the early solar system, when the Earth formed and got hit with other small planetesimals. Another cause is radioactive decay, which releases energy.


mensadave
Posted 21 June 2006 at 05:25 am

Cass said drilling that deep would anger the Mole People-- I think it would piss off the C.H.U.D.s and Morlocks, too.


johnabirk
Posted 21 June 2006 at 06:22 am

A mid 60s movie, Crack in the World, was the story of just such a project, and the disaster that followed. Very shmaltzy, but fun to watch. I show it to my geology class while discussing Project Mohole.


alias
Posted 21 June 2006 at 07:20 am

There as once a scientist named Larry. He dropped his glasses down SG-3. He never saw them again.


lifelover
Posted 21 June 2006 at 07:39 am

Would it not be smarter to start drilling inside a deep volcano?


just_dave
Posted 21 June 2006 at 08:09 am

But as is often the case when humans venture into the unknown, Kola illustrated that certainty from a distance is no certainty at all, and a few scientific theories were left in ruin. One scientist was heard to comment, "Every time we drill a hole we find the unexpected. That's exciting, but disturbing."

Imagine that; scientific theories, resulting from (I'm sure) tons of research, wrecked in the wake of reality.


Joshua
Posted 21 June 2006 at 08:25 am

lifelover said: "Would it not be smarter to start drilling inside a deep volcano?"

Not unless you have a drill bit that won't melt when it hits magma.


gruggach
Posted 21 June 2006 at 09:29 am

What makes the Russians think they'd fair better than the dwarves of Moria? Balrogs don't take kindly to people digging too deep.


blueracoon
Posted 21 June 2006 at 10:06 am

middlenamefrank said: "The Mohorovičić discontinuity has fascinated me ever since I first heard about it years ago. To my knowledge, nobody has as yet really even hazarded a guess as to what it is, so here's my favorite crackpot theory: I think it's a layer of ballbearings. I believe that the crust of the earth periodically slips, possibly because the built-up weight of ice on the poles, and dramatically reorients itself. That could explain the geologic records of the periodic flips in the earth's magnetic pole (the pole doesn't change at all, just the orientation of all the rocks we study!), help explain why deep sea fossils are found on top of the highest mountains, and maybe even account for a "great flood".


Hey I said it was a crackpot theory!

Next I'll explain why I believe the center of the earth is one gigantic, impure diamond, possibly the size of the moon. :-)"

pretty cool theory, the one about the diamond, who ever is stupid enough to go get it will be rich :)


schuylercat
Posted 21 June 2006 at 11:47 am

All that time, all that money – these damn scientists STILL don’t know their ass from a hole in the ground! After all those years of hard work and they ended up getting shafted! Talk about throwing money into a bottomless pit!

Pathetic, I know. Sorry. Having a bad day.

This is curious – I’d never heard of this, and it’s interesting (DAMNED Interesting!) stuff. I’m rather curious about it myself: by scale, nine and a half miles deep on the Earth seems like the thickness of a sheet of paper, but the temp was expected to be 573 degrees. We’re just floating around on this little sheet of rock, surfing the magma. Boggling stuff for my puny brain.

No big surprises about the Mole People, though. Mean spirited bastards, they are.

Now: I’m off to THIS site:

http://www.eurekalert.org/features/doe/2005-04/d-sfa040405.php

Cheers!


Lazyass
Posted 21 June 2006 at 12:26 pm

Marisa Brook said: "Why would the Soviet Union have wanted to dig that far down if they didn't get along with China? * grins *"

Um, I'm guessing you didn't do too well in geography class. The former Soviet Union is directly north of China.


mfilip62
Posted 21 June 2006 at 03:27 pm

"Mohorovičić discontinuity" or "Mohorovičićev dikontinuitet" is named by

one Croatian profesor from Zagreb who has "discovered" it!


jlsilo
Posted 21 June 2006 at 04:02 pm

Marisa Brook said: "Why would the Soviet Union have wanted to dig that far down if they didn't get along with China? * grins *"

...You must be kidding me. China is right below Russia. The opposite side of Russia would be the US. Also, China was a valuable communist ally of the Soviets during the cold war.


Justin Parks
Posted 21 June 2006 at 04:08 pm

So you mean all that stuff about the Earth's layers that they taught us in school was all just based on guesses? :O


nikolai
Posted 21 June 2006 at 05:53 pm

mensadave said: "Cass said drilling that deep would anger the Mole People– I think it would piss off the C.H.U.D.s and Morlocks, too". Don't forget those little glowing bald guys with the deadly(but heavy)ray guns on the old "Superman" series. Those guys gave me the willies......


SparkyTWP
Posted 21 June 2006 at 06:28 pm

China was NOT an ally of the Soviets. They were allies until the late 50s, then the Sino-Soviet split happened because of ideaology and attitude differences between Mao and Kruschev. This continued until the collapse of the Soviet Union, and consequently, the end of the cold war.


fizban7
Posted 21 June 2006 at 06:28 pm

lifelover said: "Would it not be smarter to start drilling inside a deep volcano?"

Thats like poking a hole in soup


Korgmeister
Posted 21 June 2006 at 08:18 pm

You know, I am starting to think we need a category for entries called "Those Wacky Soviets"


HiEv
Posted 21 June 2006 at 08:48 pm

just_dave said: "Imagine that; scientific theories, resulting from (I'm sure) tons of research, wrecked in the wake of reality."

Yup, that's the great thing about science, it's not dogma and it knows it. Scientific hypotheses are continuously tested, and are ultimately kept, modified, or overturned due to objective evidence. Bad hypotheses are not clung to in the face of facts, because the built-in error checking methods of testing and verifying claims constantly improve the accuracy of science over time by replacing old hypotheses that don't fit the evidence anymore with new ones that do.

Remember, it took lots of scientific research and tons of work to overturn the old hypotheses mentioned in this article, and that effort produced more accurate hypotheses to replace the old ones and a better understanding of our world. That is the triumph of science.

Sure, science isn't perfect, but it's the best thing we've found so far for figuring out how things really work.


Marisa Brook
Posted 21 June 2006 at 09:55 pm

Lazyass said: "Um, I'm guessing you didn't do too well in geography class. The former Soviet Union is directly north of China."

jlsilo said: "…You must be kidding me. China is right below Russia. The opposite side of Russia would be the US. Also, China was a valuable communist ally of the Soviets during the cold war."

Sorry, guys, just being facetious! Playing off the old 'dig a hole to China' legend - even though going through the center of the Earth in that way would only take you to China from certain parts of South America. (This is a cool site, actually, that shows it.)


Marisa Brook
Posted 21 June 2006 at 09:56 pm

Hmm, is my link not showing up?


Nytmare
Posted 21 June 2006 at 10:44 pm

jlsilo said: "…You must be kidding me. China is right below Russia. The opposite side of Russia would be the US.

The side opposite Russia is in the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans -- in the southern hemisphere.


Plank
Posted 22 June 2006 at 02:54 am

Marisa Brook said: "Why would the Soviet Union have wanted to dig that far down if they didn't get along with China? * grins *"

Marisa ,the funniest part of this is the fact that people actually thought you were being serious, as if you really believe you could dig to China from Russia! HAHA


apology
Posted 22 June 2006 at 09:08 am

Plank said: "Marisa ,the funniest part of this is the fact that people actually thought you were being serious, as if you really believe you could dig to China from Russia! HAHA"

Of course you can. You just need a really big spoon and a backpack full of poptarts. You just wouldn't go through the center of the earth to do it. You might go through the center of a jail cell however.


Emmy
Posted 22 June 2006 at 12:50 pm

OMG I learned about the Mohorovicic Discontinuity in school.... And when we were learning about it I raised my hand and said, "But isn't this a THEORY? You're teaching it like it's real!" They never let me go to the end-of-year ice cream party again... :(


HunterKiller_
Posted 22 June 2006 at 08:00 pm

I think the theory of the Mole people can be pushed aside now that we know it's 180 degrees celcius at only 12km below the surface.

If rock flows like melted plastic at only 12+km, i don't believe there would be any need to go further, obviously it's just going to be flowing rock below.


sulkykid
Posted 23 June 2006 at 09:18 am

HunterKiller_ said: "I think the theory of the Mole people can be pushed aside now that we know it's 180 degrees celcius at only 12km below the surface.


If rock flows like melted plastic at only 12+km, i don't believe there would be any need to go further, obviously it's just going to be flowing rock below."

Perhaps the mole people themselves also devised inventive new methods for drilling?

There is also another theory yet to be advanced. In Doctor Who, c1970 (Jon Pertwee as the Doctor), there was an attempt to do this exact thing. The slimy ooze from the drilling turned people into "Primords". This was the first episode that I ever saw.


needles
Posted 23 June 2006 at 10:03 am

The temperature thing is the exact opposite of Julius Verne's "Journey to the Center of the World."


another viewpoint
Posted 23 June 2006 at 10:53 am

Vivendi said: "The problem isn't finding geothermal vents, it's finding the big ones that can econimally feasible."

...can always use the energy to heat coffee for McDonald's!


Jack Starr
Posted 27 June 2006 at 06:36 pm

Don't you hate it when people use the metric system like some third world "county?" You would think that other countries would emulate the world's only SuperPower and give up that ridiculous idea.


Candyass
Posted 28 June 2006 at 03:11 pm

Jack Starr said: "Don't you hate it when people use the metric system like some third world "county?" You would think that other countries would emulate the world's only SuperPower and give up that ridiculous idea."

I agree with Jack Starr. Why would anyone want to dibble dabble with complicated units like 10? 10mm = 1cm, 10cm = 1dm, 10 dm = 1 meter - my head is just spinning!! I mean c'mon, if someone asked you: "how far is the bush from the fence"?, why would you want to spend hours calculating it in metrics and saying "It's 105 centimeters", when you can say "it's 3.444882 feet...or 1.148294 yard...or 41.338584 inches"?


Reader
Posted 03 July 2006 at 07:25 am

"The Kola project only penetrated into a fraction of the Earth's continental crust, which ranges from twenty to eighty kilometers thick."

How do they know ( twenty to eighty kilometers thick ) if they cant' even drill that deep...


calthrop
Posted 03 July 2006 at 09:41 am

Nytmare said: "The side opposite Russia is in the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans — in the southern hemisphere."

wtf? what's wrong with you? the opposite side of the world to kola is in the southern ocean! just a few kilometres off antarctica

but yeah damn cool - we need nice uncorrodable parts and then we're pretty much set for nice, warm geothermal power - yay!


Ozgeo
Posted 15 July 2006 at 09:09 pm

The Random Avenger said: "Highly unlikely. Geothermal energy is just repackaged solar energy that is concentrated in one place."

As stated by CptPicard this is not true. Geothermal energy is derived in part from the original accretional energy of the earth from the "primordial disc" and mostly from radioactive decay of elements within the core and mantle (don't worry - you are not about to develop a healthy green glow). Geothermal energy is a very real possibility for many regions of the earth - even such stable contintents as Australia. There has recently been a drilling campaign in South Australia to drill holes up to 6km depth to tap very high temperatures due to a high geothermal gradient (the crust generally increases in temperature as you go deeper by a roughly constant gradient known as the geothermal gradient, which in some places is higher than others) in that area for power generation.

lifelover said: "Would it not be smarter to start drilling inside a deep volcano?"

This would have too many hazards to mention and would not achieve the aim that the Russians had. They wanted to sample some of the upper mantle or moho. A volcano has mantle or molten crust that has undergone various crystallisation episodes and assimilated other rocks that it lies within which generally eradicate the character of the original rock. However there was recently a drilling campaign in Japan to test the internal workings of Mt Unzen which also aimed at sampling some of the volcanos magma.

Reader said: ""The Kola project only penetrated into a fraction of the Earth's continental crust, which ranges from twenty to eighty kilometers thick."

How do they know ( twenty to eighty kilometers thick ) if they cant' even drill that deep…"

This information is derived from seismic analysis of the earth. Seismic waves behave differently in solids and liquids. Solids conduct both pressure and shear waves while liquids only conduct pressure waves. By having a network of seismic stations around the world and observing strong seismic events ( earthquakes) and recording what types of waves arrive at each station you can observe how deep the solid (crust) part of the earth extends. Most oceanic crust is less than 20km thick while some continental crust under large mountain ranges may be more than 100km thick.

A very interesting article and enlightening to read now - when I was a secondary school student I was told about this drillhole and was informed that if they had gone one or two km deeper they would have tapped the upper mantle, causing a massive explosion resulting in a huge volcanic eruption. The reality it seems is far from that dramatic story.


aaron
Posted 20 July 2006 at 04:04 am

As Gman Said ......as " June 20th, 2006 at 11:44 pm | Quote this »

GMan says:
Maybe the bible theory of hell being deep below the earth's surface was true indeed…"

It is true........since you can read it in bible very clearly about this.
since this book is an prophectic book and a book from saviour...........


foxy
Posted 27 August 2006 at 02:44 am

Vivendi said: "Ya, Iceland is a big user of geothermal energy. The US also has some geothermal plants, but I don't think we're at the point (or that desperate, Matrix anyone :P) where we can drill deep holes into the earth and use the heat energy from the core effeciently. It would probably end up permanently damaging the Earth.

Depends on what you mean by permanently damaging the Earth. In some places you don't have to do much digging, and you're not going to start a volcano or anything. And in geologic time, virtually nothing is permanent.

Then again, no one really wants to see a power plant built on top of Old Faithful in Yellowstone.


joker
Posted 17 February 2007 at 10:13 am

Three questions:

1. Do religious groups consider this a holey site??

2. Is this project profitable, or did they go in the hole??

3. Are you telling us the hole story??


gopalan.evr
Posted 05 March 2007 at 07:18 am

actually, it is all quite cool down below, but the mole people dont want you to know that, so they simply heated the drill bit. this fooled the soviet scientists and they withdrew! else, we would be all holidaying there now. ;)


lostindustrial
Posted 05 March 2007 at 07:51 am

I tried to dig a superdeep hole in my backyard once. Thought I might reach china (I was 8). Unfortunately it only got to be about a foot deep before I gave up. :)


Techno-Kid
Posted 05 March 2007 at 09:03 am

I don't care how uptight and serious those scientists were - someone MUST have spit down that thing.


Mule
Posted 05 March 2007 at 09:35 am

I have just found this site and it has to be one of the best on the Internet. Many thanks for such a great place :)


Xoebe
Posted 05 March 2007 at 10:21 am

Just for fun, here's a link to an antipodal calculator.

http://www.acad.polyu.edu.hk/~04329143d/Location.htm

Perhaps check out the antipodes on Google Earth. Hey, wasn't there an article here on DI some time ago about the theoretical "hole through the Earth" transportation system? Drop a package in the hole and a few hours later it drifts to the surface on the other side of the earth? Air resistance notwithstanding, of course.


telkontar
Posted 05 March 2007 at 12:30 pm

I am proud that the Soviet aspect of my 5th-grade report about Project Mohole (a US venture) has been recognized (unofficially) and that the story evolved into this fine article. (I did not mention the Soviets in my report, except that they were in the race.)

The space program and Vietnam were too expensive for the US government to continue its digging adventure.
National pride and the resulting dirt race (mantle race? discontinuity race?) can be humorous and nearly worthless. The Commenters' puns were good, though.


davidw987
Posted 05 March 2007 at 01:44 pm

I saw an article this morning announcing an expedition to study the Earth's mantle where it is actually exposed along the mid-Atlantic ridge. This was the first I had ever heard of the mantle being exposed. They don't know if the crust has somehow been removed from that location or if the crust hasn't formed as it typically would when the tectonic plates diverge.

Check out http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20070305/sc_nm/britain_expedition_dc_1 for the article.

David


Nonesuch
Posted 05 March 2007 at 03:38 pm

I saw that too, David and it seems way cool and a lot more practical as far as observing and obtaining core samples than drilling to china or summoning balrogs or Mole people..... another link to the actual project website is here http://www.noc.soton.ac.uk/gg/classroom@sea/JC007/ which is also linked to the yahoo page.... perhaps when results and evidence is in, it will spawn another DI story ;)...


Jim Baerg
Posted 05 March 2007 at 09:05 pm

Re: comment #46 by 'Reader' - "How do they know ( twenty to eighty kilometers thick ) if they cant' even drill that deep…"

There is lots of indirect evidence for what's below our feet. A major technique is seismology ie: observing the way sound moves through the earth. The sound is generated either by earthquakes or by human made explosions or vibrator trucks (vibroseis).

The sound waves are reflected & refracted where the sound speed in the rocks changes & by setting geophones on the earth's surface to record the sound a lot can be deduced about how the sound speed varies in the earth. The Mohorovicic discontinuity is where the sound speed increases abrubutly & is considered to be the base of the crust.

For more detail use wikipedia or google to look up 'seismology' & 'mohorovicic'.


Joshua
Posted 05 March 2007 at 09:25 pm

I suppose if the Kola facility were ever hard up for cash, with a name like that they could always get a sponsorship deal with Coke or Pepsi.

Also if their deepest hole was designated SG-3, I presume there's also an SG-2 and (more to the point) an SG-1, which would make for a good Stargate tie-in.


fuzzhammer
Posted 05 March 2007 at 10:25 pm

the first comment deserves recognition


Gechmir
Posted 05 March 2007 at 10:36 pm

Seismology is based on displacement and movement of material, not sound. Sound is the basis of Sonar and the like. You get P and S-waves depending upon horizontal vs vertical displacement, but that gets into some pretty hairy theoretical seismo.

The Moho represents a compositional barrier, considered to be the crust-mantle barrier. The Crust, Mantle, and Core are divided by their compositional make-up, and these boundaries are distinguished by alteration of seismic wave speeds. The Moho is where wave velocity kicks up tremendously, due to increased density of the further-down rocks and minerals.

Drilling of these boreholes wouldn't provoke volcanism due to quite a number of factors. Firstly is size. Poking something smaller than a pinhole on the scale of a countryside is hardly going to be the cause of a massive eruption. Second, you need to have the hole positioned over a magma plume, and as far as I know, Russia isn't exactly famous for it's volcanoes.

Geoscientists know the thickness of crust (both continental and oceanic) thanks once again to seismic readings. The seismic speeds of crust vs mantle are rather different, and there is a very noticeable jump in wave velocity once it punches through the compositional barrier.

Also, Geothermal energy relies off of the radiation of the Earth's heat. As you get deeper into the planet, the geothermal gradient goes up, meaning that it gets hotter with depth. Many houses nowadays (it's catching on within the states) rely on this for efficient heating, as it serves at an exhaust for the Earth's heat. It isn't harmful to the environment, and is akin to poking a toothpick into a piping hot baked-potato.


Brother Jebadiah
Posted 06 March 2007 at 07:40 am

GMan said: "Maybe the bible theory of hell being deep below the earth's surface was true indeed…"

Nowhere in the Bible does it say that hell is anywhere below the earth's surface.


Jim Baerg
Posted 06 March 2007 at 08:38 am

Re comment 63:
I think you're getting a bit incorrectly pedantic in saying that seismic waves aren't sound. P waves in solids are exactly the same thing as sound in fluids. The additional possibility of S (shear) waves makes seismology more complex than sonar, but still it's an elaboration rather than something essentially different.


inmyopinion
Posted 06 March 2007 at 11:17 am

Jack Starr said: "Don't you hate it when people use the metric system like some third world "county?" You would think that other countries would emulate the world's only SuperPower and give up that ridiculous idea."

I read the above statement and I laughed and I cried.


noway
Posted 06 March 2007 at 11:41 am

Candyass said: "I agree with Jack Starr. Why would anyone want to dibble dabble with complicated units like 10? 10mm = 1cm, 10cm = 1dm, 10 dm = 1 meter - my head is just spinning!! I mean c'mon, if someone asked you: "how far is the bush from the fence"?, why would you want to spend hours calculating it in metrics and saying "It's 105 centimeters", when you can say "it's 3.444882 feet…or 1.148294 yard…or 41.338584 inches"?"

I was going to reply with something similar Candy, but you summed it up nicely.


midnight
Posted 06 March 2007 at 02:38 pm

Candyass said: "I agree with Jack Starr. Why would anyone want to dibble dabble with complicated units like 10? 10mm = 1cm, 10cm = 1dm, 10 dm = 1 meter - my head is just spinning!! I mean c'mon, if someone asked you: "how far is the bush from the fence"?, why would you want to spend hours calculating it in metrics and saying "It's 105 centimeters", when you can say "it's 3.444882 feet…or 1.148294 yard…or 41.338584 inches"?"

See, I would have just said "About one step." or "A bit" Measuring that out just seems overly complicated.
Yes, the English system sucks, we know it. ;)


Intellectual-Bonobo Hybrid.
Posted 07 March 2007 at 11:22 pm

"Another unexpected find was a menagerie of microscopic fossils as deep as 6.7 kilometers below the surface. "

Which supports a theory of mine, that oil is less dinosaur-age fosil fuel, and more a residue of some sort -- or part of the eco system --- of a huge lower-crust bio-sphere. Finding water down there, combined with energy, and life, also makes me think it's probably the most common biosphere on other planets.


misanthrope
Posted 08 March 2007 at 04:45 am

...Which supports a theory of mine, that oil is less dinosaur-age fosil fuel, and more a residue of some sort — or part of the eco system — of a huge lower-crust bio-sphere. Finding water down there, combined with energy, and life, also makes me think it's probably the most common biosphere on other planets."

One of a list of 'no knows' from another of my favourite sites (http://www.ohpurleese.com/no_knows.htm) is this:

Where oil came from - It may have come from decaying organic matter. But there are many problems with this theory. Not the least of which is that there’s far too much of it to have come from all the dead lifeforms which have existed on the planet until now.

It's always intrigued me.


sulkykid
Posted 08 March 2007 at 11:33 am

IBHybrid and misanthrope:

"Theory" is incorrect terminology, you mean "hypothesis".


steveo3387
Posted 08 March 2007 at 05:08 pm

Gechmir said:

Also, Geothermal energy relies off of the radiation of the Earth's heat. As you get deeper into the planet, the geothermal gradient goes up, meaning that it gets hotter with depth.

That's about all we can say for sure, since (as this article helps demonstrate), we don't know exactly what's down there anyway!


Intellectual-Bonobo Hybrid.
Posted 08 March 2007 at 10:54 pm

sulkykid,

Okay: "Hypothesis." Even more accurately, for me: "intriguing thought." And a question: What fossils have ever been found in "fossil" fuel?


iq_two
Posted 09 March 2007 at 07:47 am

jlsilo said: "…You must be kidding me. China is right below Russia. The opposite side of Russia would be the US. Also, China was a valuable communist ally of the Soviets during the cold war."

I'm sure the Russians would much rather have been able to dig a hole to the U.S. into Russia- can't you just see that, the Russians jumping down this hole all the way through the earth to come out on the other side and attack us?


Tink
Posted 09 March 2007 at 10:34 am

iq_two said: "I'm sure the Russians would much rather have been able to dig a hole to the U.S. into Russia- can't you just see that, the Russians jumping down this hole all the way through the earth to come out on the other side and attack us?"

My darling friends, you could row to Russia from the US in couple of hours! Geographicaly there is only about 12 miles between the US Eastern border and Russia's N.Western border.
Here, check it out:
http://education.yahoo.com/reference/factbook/us/map.html;_ylt=Aj.bZb4T8MtitWMONcqfZW_DecYF


Tink
Posted 09 March 2007 at 10:35 am

LOL, bet cha didn't know that! Surprised me too.


Tink
Posted 09 March 2007 at 10:38 am

Oops! I meant the US's Western border and Russia's Eastern . Sorry, laughing @ myself now.


sulkykid
Posted 09 March 2007 at 08:54 pm

Actually, during some winters, you can walk the Bering Straight from Alaska to Russia. Bring your passport!


elmo13th
Posted 11 March 2007 at 03:04 am

Maybe you just discovered the reason why America is reluctant to fight climate change :-D!!


Murtlap
Posted 11 March 2007 at 02:17 pm

"the rock brought on my intense heat"

I think that's supposed to be "by"


DaKoTa♥
Posted 27 March 2007 at 09:35 am

DaKoTa♥ is the mostset bomb♥♥♥

i ♥RyNe SwInDlE...♥


DaKoTa♥
Posted 27 March 2007 at 09:36 am

your MOThER♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥ ☻☻☻☻☻☻☻ ☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺ ♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦ ♣♣♣♣♣♠♠♠♠♠♠♣


012345
Posted 27 March 2007 at 09:41 am

dr.fagg is a lozer☺


012345
Posted 27 March 2007 at 09:47 am

corn fish geeks are dorks ♥♥♥


mercforhire
Posted 20 May 2007 at 08:58 pm

camilos said: "I wonder if its possible to use the earth's core(heat) as an energy source. It would be great, every country would have access to it. I was hoping the article would talk about that possibility."

Actually we are already doing that to a great extent, just not QUITE how would be expected. I worked on a geothermal drilling rig for abut a year...dirtiest, most fun, & most physically demanding job I've ever had. (EVERYTHING is heavy....not 100 lbs heavy, but 500 lbs heavy)

We drilled a certain # of holes, to a certain depth (both determined by engineers, comparing soil quality & building size). A typical 3,000 sq. ft. house would usually require about 3 or 4-300 ft holes. In each of these went a PVC "loop", permanently entombed in Bentonite, and then all loops were tied together so you just had 2 ends....intake & output.

This was hooked to a closed loop water system, which ran through a type of heat pump unit....only the heat pump wasn't the big condenser you see humming like crazy outside in the summer....it was water circulating underground, transferring it's heat or cold into the earth.

This set-up is initially expensive, maybe $10,000 for the above size, but after that, all you really have to pay for is the electricity to operate the water pump & a fan system in the building.....cheap heating & cooling, and it REALLY works.

We helpe install these systems on dozens of houses, several large schools, a couple of mansions, & even a swimming pool or two, to keep the water warm. Hard to describe the technical workings, but they really work well.

It's just a matter of time before some genius figures out how to ue these same SHALLOW wells to generate power, rather than drillng DEEP to tap into actual heat from the Earth.


Mole person
Posted 20 November 2007 at 10:22 pm

What?

You say there are Balrogs down here?

Well I think I better go to China. I don't think that it is anywhere near Moria and it seems to be the place that everyone is trying to get to.

But, then again, you were talking about Dwarves in Moria and, from what I heard, the Chinese aren't very tall. Its all a bit worrying.

It may be that I am in deep trouble from the Balrogs. Either that or people on the surface should be more TRUTHFUL in what they write in their e-mails so as not to scare us poor mole people. We don't get the chance to get on the internet that often so when I do I don't think its very nice of you to frighten us like that.

P.S. Please stop all the drilling. That's the thing that seems to have started all the problems in the first place.


Insightman
Posted 21 November 2007 at 10:11 am

In order to utilize geothermal sources of energy, you have to pump cold water into the reservoir to get hot water out of it. You could run pipes through the reservoir and pump cold water through the pipes to suck heat out. However, this is technologically hard to pull off. (How do you get all those pipes down there?) If you simply pump water down into the heat reservoir and pump hot water out, the water is often filled with toxic or corrosive contaminants. It's not as great as it sounds. Geothermal is too expensive to be considered viable for most countries, otherwise power companies would be using it. The bottom line is that it's too expensive to go after and probably will be for centuries to come.


Cdn Sarge
Posted 30 November 2007 at 04:01 pm

Jack Starr wrote: "Don't you hate it when people use the metric system like some third world "county?" You would think that other countries would emulate the world's only SuperPower and give up that ridiculous idea."

Think about it. The American monetary system is based on the metric system.
Why? Because it's easy to understand!

Also, considering that the world's only superpower comprises only about 5% of the world's population and is alone in rigidly adhering to an outmoded, antiquated system of measures, temperatures, and weights while most other countries have adopted the metric system as being easier, more practical, and more beneficial all round, the idea that it's the remaining 95% of the world's population that's somehow being ridiculous is ... well ... ridiculous.

PS. I think you meant "country," not "county." Every Third World country is still a country.


phazt
Posted 01 December 2007 at 11:17 am

Would it be possible to use some kind of air pressure rather than a drill to do the drilling considering the rocks deep in the crust resemble plastic? It could possibly be an air cannon that shoots from afar to avoid coming up with material to withstand 572 Fahrenheit. It would have to have a large amount of power of course... After makes a hole deep enough it could launch a grappling hook to pull up fossils and other good stuff for scientists to study or reverse the air cannon to make a mega power vacuum... (had to add the dreamy fiction at the end)


Kao_Valin
Posted 14 January 2008 at 01:18 pm

In Soviet Russia, holes drill you! Sorry couldn't help myself :).


Rachelita
Posted 10 May 2008 at 01:02 pm

"brought on my intense heat"

I would like to submit that maybe this should read: "brought on by intense heat."
I highly doubt that this gets you hot and bothered... although I could be mistaken... xD


JonnyC
Posted 21 November 2008 at 08:26 am

Jack Starr does have an extremely valid point.

The GDP of the United States (a GDP that is produced utterly within the framework of the non-metric system), is VASTLY ahead of any other nation in the world. That fact alone reflects immeasurable merit for the old system. I'm in the UK here, and we lament the changeover. The UK was the richest country in the world up until WWII. Now our economy is behind the US, Japan and even Germany. We began changing over from the imperial system in the 1970's.


Mirage_GSM
Posted 21 November 2008 at 03:23 pm

I thnk Jake Star was only joking.
I'm not quite sure about you...
According to the US CIA World Factbook 2006, the only nations that don't use metric are the US, Myanmar and Liberia. Let's average those economies, won't we? ;-)


richhav1
Posted 09 December 2008 at 02:19 pm

dear intellectual-bonobo hybrid. i love your name. are you sexually promiscuous? i'm sorry, i got off-topic.... i believe you are correct that not all petroleum is derived from fossil dinosaur remains. what you refer to is called the "abiogenic theory" of the origin of petroleum. it was popular among soviet geologists but has since been "discredited". however a more recent exploration of it can be found in a fascinating book titled "the deep hot biosphere" by a man named Gold. it may be that the deeper layers of the earths crust are teeming with "extremophile" life forms, as you suggested in your post. you might be interested in the wikipedia article: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abiogenic_petroleum_origin


richhav1
Posted 09 December 2008 at 02:47 pm

btw, when i referred to extremophile life forms, i wasn't referring to mole persons.


LivinOnLava
Posted 21 March 2009 at 12:17 am

Aloha to you Brother Jebadiah, I dont want to change the cool subject here so I wont BUT I will respond to your statement that you say that, "Nowhere in the Bible does it say that Hell is below the Earths surface". I need to let you know that it does. If you are interested let me know. I just wanted to respond without getting into a whole different discussion and stirring things up. On a different topic we have geothermal here on the Island of Hawaii and I believe it supplies about 10% of our needs, perhaps more?


Damn Interested
Posted 01 April 2009 at 02:39 pm

Actually, more heat in the earth is made from friction and pressure than from radiation. Hell isn't below the earth's surface, and yes I'd like to hear where it says that. The measurement system in the US makes more sense than the metric system because it was made for a base-12 number system. Base 12 is far more stable and workable than base 10. This is because instead of just the numbers 2 and 5 that fit into the base, you have 2, 3, 4, and 6. That's twice as many! Multiplying is easy as pie with base 12. Speaking of which, which do you think Mole People like; apple or pumpkin pie? I need to offer 42 pies as sacrifice to appease them, and I don't want to make them angry.


Mirage_GSM
Posted 02 April 2009 at 01:18 am

Imperial Units use base 12? Let's see...
Length:
1 foot = 12 inches - OK so far...
1 yard = 3 feet - not exactly twelve but a part thereof...
1 mile = 1.760 yards - 1.760/12=146,66 Meep!

Let's move on to mass...
1 pound = 16 ounces - Nope, no 12 in there.
1 stone = 14 pounds - Nope, nor here either.
1 quarter = 28 pounds - Nope.
1 ton = 2.240 pounds (2.240/12=186,66) Nope.

Maybe volume?
1 pint = 20 ounces - Nope.
1 quart = 2 pints or 40 ounces - Nope.
1 gallon = 8 pints or 160 ounces - Nope.

OK, as we can see the only relation in Imperial measurements that uses a factor of twelve is that between inches and feet. All others are more or less arbitrary. Now to the claim, that it is "easy as pie" to multiply numbers in base 12. Let's see you work out the solution to the following little problem without use of pen and paper (A=10, B=11):
10A X 26
If you can do that, you understand enough about mathematics that you wouldn't make such a claim. It is not simple to calculate in base 12, because we are all accustomed to use base ten and for everything else we need to adjust. I'm not saying it's impossible to become quite good at it with practice - many people can read binary pretty easily. But base12 is something I guess few people ever use.


geo-t
Posted 24 August 2009 at 08:45 am

Ok, just wanted to clear a lot of things up.
The Bible (which when referred to is capitalized regardless of your religion but because it is a book) does state that hell is down. Of course from an American perspective this can be quite confusing because what we consider up - the Chinese consider down....so maybe it is symbolic? However, the conditions found when going down far enough might be another symbolism for what Hell might be like?
Another religious fact that someone mentioned early on in these posts was The "Flood". It has been questioned where the "wellsprings of the deep" are that could have helped flood the world that the Bible mentioned. I found it interesting to see that water (or equivalent volumes of hydrogen/oxygen) were found in the rocks when they dug deep - just food for thought...
There was a scientist who put out the theory that oil is regenerated from something within the crust of the earth and therefore there was a perpetual supply. (maybe one of the links someone listed pointed to this theory - I'm both too lazy and limiting my Internet traversing because I'm not at home). An interesting theory that might coincide with the micro-organisms found deep in the crust.
Metric vs Imperial measuring system - I blame the British!
As far as damaging the earth by drilling a hole - that's pretty audacious to think that we as humans have that much control. We don't! We can't stop volcanoes, we can't stop the movement of techtonic plates, whatever hole we dig, will eventually be filled back in by acts of nature. God made it that way and he is in control, and if you look at the long history of the earth - you will know this - because God set up the laws that cause the acts of nature. Whoever said, digging a hole would damage the earth has watched way too much TV and suscribed to the media propaganda way too much.


ChuckS
Posted 26 September 2009 at 07:02 pm

Oh I cannot wait for the day when MANKIND will drop the useless PC nonsense and go back to proper terminologies. Great article though. I had a feeling that it would get hotter as it drilled down but that would only make sense since it is believed that there is a molten core here on Earth.


alandoud
Posted 23 November 2009 at 01:11 am

geo-t
wrote
As far as damaging the earth by drilling a hole – that’s pretty audacious to think that we as humans have that much control. We don’t! We can’t stop volcanoes, we can’t stop the movement of techtonic plates, whatever hole we dig, will eventually be filled back in by acts of nature. God made it that way and he is in control, and if you look at the long history of the earth – you will know this – because God set up the laws that cause the acts of nature. Whoever said, digging a hole would damage the earth has watched way too much TV and suscribed to the media propaganda way too much.

Actually we caused an earth quake when water was pumped into a fault meeting magma created steam pressure. As far as God goes we he left us the will to destroy ourselves if we choose. I Love God! Don't you?


MacAvity
Posted 10 January 2010 at 04:49 pm

Korgmeister said: "You know, I am starting to think we need a category for entries called “Those Wacky Soviets”"

I second the motion.


geonerd
Posted 10 February 2010 at 10:21 am

Hi I am a geologist just wanted to comment on a very common misconception: that the Earth's mantle is molten. In fact it is solid crystalline rock all the way down to the core-mantle boundary, the rock is hot and deformable due to the extreme pressure(hence it will flow) but it is not a liquid. Magma only occurs at places where there is an influx of water such as subduction zones which lowers the melting temperature of rocks, or in places where upward motion causes decompression melting such as mantle plumes. Anyway the crust as a whole is not underlain by magma. we know this because both P and S-waves will propagate through the mantle, and S-waves will not pass through liquid. so there is no danger of magma coming up the borehole because there is no magma down there.


thetennthtenn
Posted 21 March 2010 at 07:28 pm

to all you people who go "lol" or "lmao" about this alternative energy sources are messed up nuts go check your selfs in to the physc ward. there is many energy sources other then oil and yes as long as we did not drill to the core of the earth [the earth would go super nova] we could use geothermal heat and many other sources.


Flackbash
Posted 19 April 2010 at 09:19 am

Why would anyone want to dibble dabble with complicated units like 10? 10mm = 1cm, 10cm = 1dm, 10 dm = 1 meter – my head is just spinning!! I mean c’mon, if someone asked you: “how far is the bush from the fence”?, why would you want to spend hours calculating it in metrics and saying “It’s 105 centimeters”, when you can say “it’s 3.444882 feet…or 1.148294 yard…or 41.338584 inches”?"

I've worked as a land surveyor here in the U.S. Basically, they're the people who drive stakes in the ground to show constructions crews where to build things. In order to show distances/etc smaller than a foot, they break the foot down into tenths and hundredths of a foot. There are no inches.

That's right, in our steadfast avoidance of all things metric, we ironically break feet down to base 10. I could show you what a tenth looks like between two fingers much more easily than I could show you a centimeter. Yeah, I know. Yep.


Worried
Posted 10 June 2010 at 12:36 pm

Has anyone done the math on how much heat is being released into the atmosphere. Volcanoes are pimples compared to these. These are more on a par with impact craters. Perhaps impact craters do not release volcanic mayhem as is usually described as dinosaur killers. Perhaps they just dig deep holes in the crust and let heat out steadily but surely. In total BTUs, how does this giant hole (holes?) we dug compare to the temperatures needed to start a big green house problem? Does the timing of these deep man made holes line up with the global warming record in the ice core studies. Easy questions to make up, I know. But did someone at least demonstrate that these holes could not possibly contribute to, much less cause, the global warming of the last several decades? 100 degree plastic rock sounds significant to me.


14darkmatt15
Posted 24 September 2010 at 09:14 pm

Candyass said: "Jack Starr said: “Don’t you hate it when people use the metric system like some third world “county?” You would think that other countries would emulate the world’s only SuperPower and give up that ridiculous idea.”

I agree with Jack Starr. Why would anyone want to dibble dabble with complicated units like 10? 10mm = 1cm, 10cm = 1dm, 10 dm = 1 meter – my head is just spinning!! I mean c’mon, if someone asked you: “how far is the bush from the fence”?, why would you want to spend hours calculating it in metrics and saying “It’s 105 centimeters”, when you can say “it’s 3.444882 feet…or 1.148294 yard…or 41.338584 inches”?"

Why calculate anything when you can take 5 minutes or 300 second to go grab a measuring tape? =D


GeothermalSusan
Posted 13 December 2011 at 05:49 pm

I'm surprised at the temperatures. The geothermal gradient in this area would need to be pretty low to only have 180C at 12.75 km. And believe me, it would need to be much hotter than this to have drilling problems due to plasticity of the rock. The Icelanders just drilled into magma (liquid rock) and they had very little trouble until that happened. The temperature was over 450C. They drilled into magma at the Puna geothermal project as well and again they had no drilling problems until just before they hit it. We are working on a geothermal project in a well that has over 325C at the bottom and there was no problem with plasticity of the rock. We run mud motors as was described in this well at temperatures over 250C.

Over 44 TW of heat energy escapes from the earths surface into the atmosphere annually. The planet wide energy consumption is about 11 TW. This energy is not from the sun nor does it come from pressure. It comes from heat given off by radioactive decay of elements in the rocks making up the planet. There are hot spots, of course, where the crust is thin. The mid-ocean ridges and rift zones as well as the Basin and Range have this thin crust. Some extra heat is given off by friction between moving pieces of the crust but this isn't a big piece of the heat budget of the planet.

Geothermal power in the Hawaiian Islands comes from one project at Puna on the Big Island which supplies about 25 MW. Thats about 20% of the Big Island power consumption but only about 2% of the state consumption.


Meadowlark
Posted 14 January 2014 at 04:58 am

I thought they were going to say the Russians abandoned the project at the six mile mark after they extracted a pair of white shoes belonging to Pat Boone from their last core sample?


aradhana mamgain
Posted 21 May 2015 at 10:58 pm

cant we use it as a resourse??? it would be so interesting..


END OF COMMENTS
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