Saturday, 30 Sep 2023

China drilling a 10,000-metre hole to the centre of Earth and no one is sure why

Chinese scientists have mysteriously begun drilling a 10,000-metre (32,808 feet) hole into the Earth's crust, and no one is totally sure why.

Whilst no one is certain on the motive, the fact that drilling began in the oil-rich Xinjiang region yesterday (Tuesday, May 30) may offer a clue as to why, as the world's second biggest economy tries to pull out in front.

It is known that such prospecting can identify mineral and energy resources deep beneath the earth's surface and the hole will be so deep that it will reach rock dating back 145 million years.

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Wang Chunsheng, a technical expert on the operation, said that drilling a borehole over 10,000 meters deep is a bold attempt to explore the unknown territory of the Earth.

"The construction difficulty of the drilling project can be compared to a big truck driving on two thin steel cables," Sun Jinsheng, a scientist at the Chinese Academy of Engineering, told Xinhua News Agency.

Chinese President Xi Jinping called for greater progress in deep Earth exploration in a 2021 speech directed at the nation's top boffins.

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The new initiative comes in the same week that China sent its first civilian astronaut into space and just after a 12,000-tonne offshore drilling rig was completed, designed to mine the geological reserves of natural gas.

The drill, which has a design depth of over 11,000 meters, comprises of drill bits and drill pipes that will force their way through the tough Tarim Basin, in northwest China's Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region.

On May 24, 1970, on the Soviet Union project known as the ‘Kola Superdeep Borehole’ began and over the intervening years workers eventually reached 12,200 metres deep.

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