An Amazing Journey to The Center of The World: Investigating The World Below

The thickness of the earth’s crust ranges from 50 miles (80.5 km) in mountainous areas to just six miles (9.7 km) beneath the ocean floor; the average around the world is 21 miles (33.8 km). The borehole, therefore, has already eaten its way through one-third of the earth’s surface.

An Amazing Journey to the Center of the World: Investigating the World Below

By Mr Ghaz, December 25, 2010

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An Amazing Journey to the Center of the World: Investigating the World Below

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While scientists probe the secrets of outer space, much about the world on which we stand remains mysterious. To expand our knowledge, the Russian started a deep borehole drilling program to investigate geological theories about the formation of the earth.

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The Kola Peninsula, in the far northwestern Russian Federation, between the Barents Sea and the White Sea, was selected, and drilling began in 1970. By the mid-1980’s the borehole was more than seven miles (eleven kilometers) deep – the deepest penetration of the surface of the earth yet attempted. From this depth it takes 18 hours to hoist samples to the surface.

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The thickness of the earth’s crust ranges from 50 miles (80.5 km) in mountainous areas to just 6 miles (9.7 km) beneath the ocean floor; the average around the world is 21 miles (33.8 km). The borehole, therefore, has already eaten its way through one-third of the earth’s surface.

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Russian engineers have achieved the feat with modern drilling technology. The main body of the drill, a string of metal pipes weighing more than 300 tons, can withstand the high pressures and temperatures of the earth’s interior. The pipes remain stationary as a drilling turbine that protrudes below them brings up rock samples.

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The Kola borehole has disproved some theories and established many new facts. Previously, the earth’s three-tier structure was thought to consist of a thin sedimentary layer, a granite layers as deep as four miles (six kilometers), and finally a basalt layer-starting at the so-called Conrad Boundary-that descends to the core of the earth.

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But the drill has revealed that the sedimentary layer reaches a depth of nearly 4 miles (6.4 km), and at seven miles (eleven kilometers), the drill has not struck the basalt layer. The discrepancy came to light because rock between three and five miles (five and eight kilometers) deep is less dense than that above it, and the temperature is nearly double the estimates.

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At five miles (eight kilometers) it is 356°F (180°C), not 212°F (100°C) as believed; it increases 4.5°F every 100 yards (91.4 meters). The heat makes the minerals in the rocks to give off water; this creates still more pressure, causing the rocks to expand and crack.

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In its descent, the drill has discovered fossilized microorganisms in the billion-year-old rocks at depths previously thought to have been barren of life. These fossils may well make scientists revise their opinions about early life on this planet.

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Similar boreholes are being drilled elsewhere in the world, and should give future generations a better understanding of what lies beneath their feet.

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24 Responses to “An Amazing Journey to The Center of The World: Investigating The World Below”
  1. Uma Shankari Says...

    On April 25, 2010 at 7:38 am

    Good as usual. You have become a standard unto yourself.


  2. drelayaraja Says...

    On April 25, 2010 at 8:39 am

    Wonderful and well presented information.


  3. ken bultman Says...

    On April 25, 2010 at 10:10 am

    Fantastic. Early life on this planet may come under question as may the initial size of Earth.


  4. Susan Says...

    On April 25, 2010 at 10:26 am

    An article that creates the desire to find out more. Thank you.


  5. CHAN LEE PENG Says...

    On April 25, 2010 at 10:27 am

    Great and fantastic read as usual. Thanks for your effort. Clicked you \”liked it\” too.


  6. wonder Says...

    On April 25, 2010 at 12:46 pm

    A great challenge ahead.


  7. Christine Ramsay Says...

    On April 25, 2010 at 1:56 pm

    Another very well presented and informative piece. You are the master of these types of articles.

    Christine


  8. Citra Florenca Says...

    On April 25, 2010 at 10:40 pm

    Very informative article as always.


  9. ssss Says...

    On April 26, 2010 at 11:34 am

    Cannot make sense of this article because it is using “F” and “miles” instead of Celsius/Km/SI. What the hell man?


  10. tom hearn Says...

    On April 26, 2010 at 1:21 pm

    Nice article and great pictures, but the units need fixing! Oceans have about a 6 km crust, continents average 30-35 km, and the deepest crust is near 75 km beneath parts of Tibet. Generally, higher elevations have thicker crust.


  11. Mellow Says...

    On April 26, 2010 at 1:58 pm

    Why are such bizarre units like yards and Fahrenheit being used?


  12. Eswar Bala Says...

    On April 26, 2010 at 3:59 pm

    come on now… everyone in the US know that the Earth is 6000 yrs old


  13. i need a job Says...

    On April 26, 2010 at 4:52 pm

    Wow very cool. Journey to the center of the earth indeed.


  14. Fluck Says...

    On April 26, 2010 at 8:05 pm

    Hello, I’m from the future. I just stopped in back at this period in time to marvel that someone is still using Farenheit and yards in 2010. In the future, when I’m from, we think it’s truly hilarious that there were still people using these convoluted and archaic units a decade into the 21st Century.

    Oh well, enjoy it while you can. The world becomes a much simpler, more reasonable place in three years when the USA sinks.


  15. Gsvob Says...

    On April 26, 2010 at 10:50 pm

    Hello, i am an interplanetary conqueror from the still-more future. Why are you austropithacines using meters and Celsius when gtrayls and lsveyiebs are clearly better? Silly Earthlings! It is no wonder we conquered you.

    Hey! Tie my shoes!


  16. Sofia Says...

    On April 27, 2010 at 1:25 am

    actually, it would not–as you fell into the hole, more of earth’s mass would be above your apparent weight would decrease. If we could construct a tube all the way through the earth, and you jumped in, you would fall through the center, and almost up to the top on the other side (friction slowing you down, of course) and go back and forth like a pendulum, eventually setting into a weightless state at the center of the earth.


  17. micheal Says...

    On April 27, 2010 at 8:14 am

    when you get to hell..say hello to my little friend!


  18. Dreyan Says...

    On April 30, 2010 at 3:40 pm

    I heard about this before, but I didn’t realize it was a big deal. I thought the Russians were just trying to one-up the US by digging a deeper hole. xD


  19. Jessi Says...

    On May 19, 2010 at 1:39 am

    Nice loved it.


  20. Elle Pedersen Says...

    On September 12, 2010 at 10:40 am

    Not surprising that the Russians have been drilling “to investigate geological theories about the formation of the earth”. The Russians also theorised that natural petroleum was formed from deep carbon deposits – going right back to when the Earth was first formed. Very interesting Mr Ghaz :-)


  21. BluSphere Says...

    On December 24, 2010 at 11:29 pm

    Wow.. Amazing article! So many different things were included. I wish it was longer.

    Best regards,
    Blu


  22. Lara Says...

    On March 9, 2011 at 1:15 am

    I liked this idea. It has presented a good piece of info in a proper manner.


  23. charlie Says...

    On July 7, 2011 at 11:28 am

    Why is there an image of an open cast mine as one of the introductory images. Gives the impression the bore hole is 2 miles across and being dug with giant tonka trucks.


  24. Rummy Says...

    On July 22, 2011 at 6:20 am

    I agreed with Elle Pedersen comments that The Russians also theorised that natural petroleum was formed from deep carbon deposits.

    Great Article on geology.

    Thanks


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