China is drilling the world's deepest hole.

China begins drilling the world’s deepest hole

China makes headway in planetary exploration, drilling an ambitious 10,000-meter-deep well to reach the Earth's crust.


China, setting sights not only on space but also on the unexplored depths of our planet, has initiated drilling a narrow, deep well aimed at reaching Earth’s crust. As per state news agency Xinhua, drilling started last Tuesday in the Tarim Basin’s desert in Xinjiang, northwestern China. The planned depth for this shaft is a staggering 11,100 meters, destined to break through over ten continental strata and delve into the Cretaceous system of the Earth’s crust—layered rocks dating back to 145 million years. Anticipated completion within 457 days, this project has been hailed by Chinese state media as a “milestone in deep Earth exploration.”

The World’s Deepest Hole: Insights into Earth’s Structure

The deep exploration well, according to the China National Petroleum Corporation—the project’s spearhead- will offer scientists an opportunity to probe Earth’s internal structure and evolution and provide substantial data for geoscientific research. Technical expert Wang Chunsheng views this venture as a daring attempt to unlock the unknowns of our world and expand human understanding.


Project Challenges: Navigating Extreme Conditions

Conducting this operation is no small feat, comparing the project’s complexity to “driving a large truck on two thin steel cables,” as per Sun Jinsheng, a scientist from the Chinese Academy of Engineering. The over-2,000-ton equipment is designed to endure up to 200°C underground temperatures and atmospheric pressure over 1,300 times higher than usual. The extreme conditions beneath the surface, coupled with Tarim Basin’s inhospitable desert environment, elevate the project’s challenges.


Despite the ambitious goal, the Kola super-deep well in northwest Russia will retain its status as the deepest artificial well globally at 12,262 meters.

Nation’s Vision: Breaking New Grounds

This project aligns with China’s drive to explore new frontiers both in space and below Earth’s surface. In 2021, China’s president encouraged leading scientists to push boundaries in various sectors, including deep Earth exploration.

Parallel to this, President Xi Jinping has emphasized enhancing domestic energy supplies, propelling Chinese energy giants to probe for natural resources. The Xinjiang region is notably rich in mineral and oil reserves. Sinopec, China’s leading refining company, recently discovered substantial oil and gas flows from an exploration well in the Tarim Basin, exceeding depths of 8,500 meters.


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Written by Ivan Petricevic

I've been writing passionately about ancient civilizations, history, alien life, and various other subjects for more than eight years. You may have seen me appear on Discovery Channel's What On Earth series, History Channel's Ancient Aliens, and Gaia's Ancient Civilizations among others.

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