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HOW DEEP WE CAN DIG

Deepest Holes Explored

By Akanni Adedamola Published about a year ago 4 min read

Since ancient times, mankind has been captivated by the notion of excavating a hole to the very core of our planet. Yet, despite this enduring allure, no one has ever triumphed in plumbing such extraordinary depths. This contemplation naturally leads us to speculate on the true extent of our modern technological capabilities. Picture, if you will, a world where the act of digging becomes humanity's paramount pursuit. How deep could we delve into the Earth's bosom? Come, let us embark on an extraordinary odyssey, commencing from the terra firma, to fathom the profound depths that lie within our grasp.

We begin our descent at a modest 1.8 meters, which coincidentally matches the standard grave depth in Western culture for those concerned about the undead, this is how deep they would emerge from at 4 meters, we arrive at the depth of Pharaoh Tutankhamun's tomb. Digging down to six meters, we reach the maximum depth at which metal detectors can detect signals. As we venture to 12 meters, we encounter the deepest animal burrows, crafted by Nile crocodiles.

Continuing our descent to 20 meters, we encounter the Paris Catacombs, a sprawling tomb holding the remains of over 6 million people. Double that depth to 40 meters, and we encounter the world's deepest swimming pool. If you were to drain this pool and jump in from the top, it would take almost 3 seconds to hit the bottom. At 100 meters, governments bury their nuclear waste, and just a bit deeper, at 105.5 meters, lies the world's deepest metro station in Kiev.

Diving deeper, we reach 122 meters, the greatest depth ever reached by a plant's roots, belonging to a fig tree in South Africa. At 220 meters, we arrive at the Congo River, the world's deepest river. Progressing further, we encounter the world's deepest railway tunnel at 240 meters, connecting the Japanese islands of Honshu and Hokkaido. Yet at 287 meters, we face the B82 Earth-penetrating nuclear warhead's destructive potential, capable of obliterating structures up to this depth.

Remarkably, at 392 meters, we find the deepest well and quite possibly the deepest hole ever dug by hand. This remarkable feat, known as the Woodingdean Water Well, was excavated back in 1862 in the UK. Plunging even deeper, at 603 meters, we encounter something truly chilling: the deepest vertical drop within a cave. Falling down this hole would provide a longer descent than leaping from the top of New York's One World Trade Center, taking over 11 seconds to reach the bottom.

Continuing our descent, at 700 meters, we reach the depth where the Chilean miners were trapped for 69 harrowing days in 2010. At 970 meters lies the deepest hole ever dug with an open sky above it, known as the Bingham Canyon open pit mine in Utah. This massive pit is so deep that the tallest building in the world could fit in its center with over 100 meters to spare. Descending further to 1,410 meters, we encounter the deepest concert ever held by the band "Agonizer" in Finland.

Delving down to 1,642 meters, we reach the depth of the world's deepest lake, Lake Baikal in Russia. At 1,857 meters, we encounter the deepest part of the Grand Canyon. Further below, 2,197 meters beneath the surface in Georgia, lies the world's deepest known cave. However, the deepest hole one could actually fall into reaches even greater depths. At a staggering 3,132 meters, we reach the bottom of the Moab Khotsong mineshaft in South Africa. Taking the elevator down to this depth consumes a grueling 4.5 minutes, while falling down would take 25 full seconds, enough time to receive and miss an entire phone call.

Venturing even deeper, at 3,600 meters, we encounter the deepest point where a multicellular organism has been found alive - a peculiar-looking worm. Yet, human beings have surpassed even this depth. At 4,000 meters, we reach the bottom of the world's deepest mine, also located in South Africa. The arduous journey from the surface to this depth requires over an hour, and the temperature at the bottom can soar to a scorching 66 degrees Celsius.

Descending to 6,000 meters, we encounter the average depth of the oceanic crust beneath the ocean floor. Plunging to 8,848 meters, we reach the height of Mount Everest, but this time buried underground. Finally, at a staggering 10,994 meters, we find ourselves at the bottom of the Marianas Trench, the deepest part of the ocean. Yet astonishingly, humans have ventured even deeper.

For reference, commercial airliners typically fly at an average altitude of 11,887 meters. But surpassing that depth, at 12,262 meters, we find the Kola Superdeep Borehole. This ambitious Soviet project aimed to penetrate through the Earth's crust. Although it only reached a third of the desired depth, the extreme temperature of 180 degrees Celsius prevented further progress. Moreover, the borehole's narrow width of 23 centimeters ensures no accidental falls. Dropping a quarter into the shaft would take approximately 50 seconds to reach the bottom.

However, recent achievements have surpassed the Kola Superdeep Borehole. The Z44-Chavyo oil and gas well has managed to drill down to an astonishing depth of 12,376 meters - equivalent to stacking 15 Burj Khalifas atop one another. Presently, this represents humanity's deepest excavation.

Considering the Earth's crust extends down to 70,000 meters below the surface, and the planet's center lies a colossal 6,731 kilometers beneath us, our current explorations merely scratch the surface. From Lisbon, Portugal, representing the Earth's surface, to Astana, Kazakhstan, signifying the planet's core, humanity has ventured a minuscule distance. Don't forget to subscribe for future updates.

Nature

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    AAWritten by Akanni Adedamola

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