Science & Tech

World's deepest hole sealed up for concerning reason

World's deepest hole sealed up for concerning reason
Dig This! Looking Down the World's Deepest Hole
Underknown - INSH / VideoElephant

Deep in the Arctic Circle, in Russia, lies the deepest hole ever dug which was once called 'the entrance to hell'.

The Kola Superdeep Borehole is the deepest manmade hole, and deepest artificial point, on Earth, measuring at 40,230ft feet.

To put it into perspective, that's 12.2km, or 7.58 miles - that's the height of Mount Everest and Mount Fuji put together.

According to the BBC, locals say the hole, located near the Kola Peninsula in northwestern Russia near the border with northern Norway, is that deep they can hear the screams of souls tortured in hell.

Yet the hole itself is barely as wide as a dinner plate.

It took almost 20 years to drill that deep but the hole is only around one third of the way through the Earth's crust with temperatures already reaching 180 degrees Celsius (356 Fahrenheit).

It has since been sealed off.

The deepest drilled hole in the world pictured in 2013, which has been sealed offRakot 13, CC BY-SA 3.0

Uli Harms is of the International Continental Scientific Drilling Program, who as a young scientist worked on the German rival to the Kola borehole.

Speaking to the BBC, he said: "When the Russians started to drill they claimed they had found free water - and that was simply not believed by most scientists.

"There used to be common understanding among Western scientists that the crust was so dense 5km down that water could not permeate through it.”

A bit like the space race, there was a race to explore the unknown 'deep frontier'.

The US started it in 1950 with the first serious plan to drill down into the mantle with the Soviets starting their efforts in 1970 and Germany following suit in 1990.

Drilling was stopped on the Kola Superdeep Borehole in 1992 when the 180 degrees Celsius temperature was reached, said to be twice the temperature expected at that depth, with drilling any further impossible as tools could not cope with the heat.

It's reported there was no money to fund such projects after the collapse of the Soviet Union and three years later, in 1995, the whole facility was shut down.

The desolate site is now a destination for adventurous tourists.

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