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Why is China digging a 10-km-deep hole into Earth's crust?



China has embarked on an ambitious endeavour to dig a 10-kilometre-deep hole into the Earth's crust as part of its exploration efforts. Aim? The team hopes to reach rocks from the Cretaceous Period, the layer known as the Cretaceous System, which dates back up to 145 million years.

The project is taking place in the Tarim Basin of Xinjiang province and hopes to bring valuable insights into Earth's history, and was commenced on Tuesday (May 30).


By digging into that many layers of rocks, China can offer information about the evolution of landscapes, climate change, and the distribution of life. This will also allow the scientists to identify and date significant events such as volcanic eruptions, earthquakes, and shifts in climate, as well as study ancient life forms.


The excavation, is located in the challenging environment of the Taklimakan Desert, China's largest desert.

However, the reasons behind this ambitious project have not been fully disclosed by China at this time.


The deepest hole ever dug


  • Even though the hole China is digging is deep, it's worth noting that the current record for the deepest man-made hole on Earth is held by the Kola Superdeep Borehole in Russia, which reached a depth of 12,262 meters.

  • The Kola project was aimed to study the Earth's crust and mantle.

  • Russia, however, wasn't able to go any further with the drilling and it was stopped in 1992, when the temperature reached 180 degrees Celsius. This was twice what was expected at that depth and drilling deeper was no longer possible.

  • In 2008, Russia announced that they will be covering the hole.



Digging a hole into the surface of the earth is never an easy task. Apart from Russia and China, the US and Germany have also previously tried digging into the Earth's crust but weren't able to finish the project because of the increasingly unbearable temperature and lack of funds. Let's see how determined China is?

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