Monday Musings — 15JAN24

Source: suzi long

That’s from Suzi Long’s portfolio, of fun birds with fun shoes. Starting off your week.

It’s currently welded shut. But if you could open it, you would find the deepest hole that has ever been drilled into the earth.

The Kola Superdeep Borehole is 12 kilometres deep (7.5 miles). For context, the deepest mine is 4 kilometres deep. Cruising altitude for a passenger jet is 11 kilometres up. The bottom of the Mariana Trench is 11 kilometres down.

I really want you to understand that if you jimmied open that tiny rusty cover, there would be nothing between you and a hole that is deeper than the Mariana Trench.

They began drilling in 1970 and stopped in 1995 when they ran out of funds. The aim was just to try and drill as deep into the earth’s crust as they could. (Wikipedia says the company was liquidated due to low profitability, but surely no one thought “dig as deep as possible for no reason” was going to make a profit?)

Anyway, they made it almost halfway through the Earth’s crust. It’s hard to know how much further they would have got. Their instruments kept melting. (“At those depths, rock began to behave more like plastic. [The temperature] rises 25 degrees for every kilometre you go down.”)

We cannot even get to the Moho!

The Moho is what you get when someone named Andrija Mohorovičić discovers something (“MOH-huh-ROH-vuh-chitch”). It’s the boundary between the crust and the mantle, and is technically the Mohorovičić Discontinuity, but it just gets called the Moho. (Wikipedia page)

(A different attempt to drill through the thinner crust on the seafloor was called “Project Mohole”. It made it about a hundred metres.)

As an aside, I found out about the Kola Superdeep Borehole after reading about Theia and saying out loud, “I’m pretty sure this is a dumb question but could we get iron from the core?” so a point in favour of asking dumb questions.

Here’s some music.

That’s it for today. nothing profuound, since I’m too tired this week. Love you all.

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