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The deepest hole in the world

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Deep in western Russia, if you know where to look, you’ll find a small
collection of ragged scrap metal and crumbled concrete. Which isn’t that
exciting. But if you rifle through the rubble, you will find a large,
metal disc bolted to the ground.

This isn’t just any old disc – it’s the welded-shut cap of a boreholethat plummets more than 12 kilometres into the Earth, says Hank Green in the SciShow episode below.
How deep is 12 kilometres, comparatively? Well, that’s deeper than
the deepest point of the ocean, and it’s the deepest hole we’ve ever dug
into the Earth. It’s called the Kola Superdeep Borehole, and time to
celebrate, everybody, because it’s got nothing to do with extracting
oil! It’s there purely for the wonderful science of it all.
When
Soviet scientists started drilling down into Earth’s surface during the
1970s, they did it to find out more about the contents of its crust.
“Because the truth is, we know less about what’s under our feet than
what’s on the other side of the Solar System,” says Hank in the video below
Over the next 24 years, these scientists drilled down on and off, and
while they didn’t get down as far as they were hoping, by 1994, they’d
made it just over 12 kilometres. Which is certainly nothing to sniff at,
because it happens to be a record-breaking dig that still stands today,
and the drill technology they had to develop to get down there is
pretty remarkable.

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But what did we actually learn from all of this hard work? As the episode of SciShow above explains,
we learnt a whole lot! Firstly, the fact that there’s water at 12
kilometres into Earth’s crust, which scientists wouldn’t have even
thought possible had they not seen it with their own eyes. And almost 7
kilometres down, they found microscopic fossils of 24 species of
long-dead single-celled organisms.
They also gained access to
rocks 2.7 BILLION years old, which is awesome, but these rocks became
the challenge that the scientists just could not overcome. Why? Because
their temperature was around 180 degrees Celsius – about 80 over what
the scientists predicted. Will we ever figure out how to get down
further than this? Well, 1994 was a long time ago, so never say never.

Source: SciShow

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