China will drill a hole more than 11 kilometers deep to see what lies beneath the surface of our earth and, of course, in the hope of finding valuable raw materials.
The country will drill in a desert in the Tarim Basin in the northwest region of Xinjiang. The intention is to drill through ten layers of rock to eventually arrive at a layer over 145 million years old. The lowest point must be reached in 457 days.
Chinese state media speaks of “an important step in the exploration of deep Earth”. The drilling should provide scientists with information about the internal structure and evolution of the planet. But the project is being spearheaded by the China National Petroleum Corporation, the country’s main oil and gas producer, so raw materials will also be sought.
In any case, it is a technological tour de force. The equipment, which weighs more than 2,000 tonnes, is designed to withstand 200 degrees and atmospheric pressure 1,300 times higher than normal. Not only are the conditions deep below the earth’s surface extreme, but the Tarim Basin itself isn’t fun either. It is part of the hottest and driest desert in China.
The Xinjiang region is known for its mineral deposits and oil reserves. Just last month, Sinopec, China’s largest refinery, discovered a significant amount of oil and gas in the Tarim Basin at a depth of over 8,500 meters.
What the Chinese are doing is impressive, but there is one country that can go even further: the deepest man-made hole is in northwest Russia. There we managed to reach 12,262 meters.source): The Guardian
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