Typically when you hear about deep exploration drilling, it involves the petroleum industry or something that the Lagina brothers are doing on Oak Island. One such deep drilling expedition that you’ve likely never heard of is the Kola Superdeep Borehole, or as it is simply known: the deepest hole on earth.
Back in the 1970’s, Russian scientists set out to drill the deepest hole known to man in an effort to learn more about the planet. Their initial goal was to reach a depth of 15km (roughly 49,000 feet). What is interesting is that scientists know less about the crust of our planet than we know about the other side of the universe. Drilling went on for 24 years until the borehole was capped in 1994, but not before the drillers reached a depth of 12.2km (roughly 40,000 feet). That is still the record to this day for the deepest hole on Earth.
What they Found
Although the engineers didn’t reach their target depth, they still learned a lot about the outer layer of our planet. Not only were new techniques of drilling devised, but new information was discovered about the ground under our feet that we never knew. For instance, scientists found water at depths that were previously thought to be impossible. This is suspected to be part of a process where oxygen and hydrogen are quite literally squeezed out of the surrounding rocks.
One of the most fascinating things they found was the discovery of tiny fossils at a depth of 6.7km (roughly 22,000 feet). These microfossils shed new light on how our planet was formed and how life evolved over the last 4.6 billion years or so.
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Although the site of the Kola Superdeep Borehole is now in wasted ruins, the discoveries that were made the are timeless. Check out the following video from SciShow’s YouTube channel for more information on this interesting piece of scientific history: