Chinese scientists have embarked on a groundbreaking mission to drill a 10,000-meter (32,808 feet) borehole into the Earth’s crust in China’s oil-rich Xinjiang region. This endeavor marks China’s deepest drilling project to date, showcasing the nation’s commitment to pushing boundaries in both the realms above and below the Earth’s surface.
The current record for the deepest man-made hole on Earth is held by the Russian Kola Superdeep Borehole, which reached an astonishing depth of 12,262 meters (40,230 feet) in 1989 after two decades of drilling.
According to the official Xinhua News Agency, the narrow shaft being drilled in Xinjiang will penetrate more than 10 continental strata, delving into layers of rock and eventually reaching the cretaceous system in the Earth’s crust. This particular system consists of rock formations that date back approximately 145 million years.
“The construction difficulty of the drilling project can be compared to a big truck driving on two thin steel cables,” explained Sun Jinsheng, a scientist at the Chinese Academy of Engineering, emphasizing the immense challenges associated with this ambitious undertaking.
In a speech to the nation’s top scientists in 2021, President Xi Jinping expressed the need for advancements in deep Earth exploration. This form of exploration holds great potential for identifying valuable mineral and energy resources while also aiding in the assessment of environmental risks such as earthquakes and volcanic eruptions.
As China continues its quest for scientific and technological breakthroughs, the ongoing drilling project in Xinjiang represents a remarkable feat of engineering and exploration. While the Russian Kola Superdeep Borehole still holds the record, China’s pursuit of delving into the depths of the Earth showcases its determination to uncover new knowledge and resources.