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China is drilling one of the world's deepest holes, here's why

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(Kitco News) China has embarked on a new massive project focusing on deep-Earth exploration. The world's largest economy began drilling a 10,000-meter hole — one of the deepest holes in the world.

The goal is scientific exploration, according to the Chinese state-run Xinhua news agency.

China began the drilling last week, with the borehole depth set to reach 11,100 meters (36,417 feet) in just 457 days. The dig is happening in the Taklimakan Desert - China's largest desert located in the resource-rich Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region in northwestern China.

China will use equipment weighing more than 2,000 tonnes to complete the project.

The drill will break through more than ten continental strata, including the Cretaceous system, a stratified layer of rock dating back to 145 million years ago.

"The construction difficulty of the drilling project can be compared to a big truck driving on two thin steel cables," Xinhua cited Sun Jinsheng, an academician at the Chinese Academy of Engineering, as saying.

The massive undertaking is an unprecedented opportunity to explore the unknown territory of the Earth.

According to China National Petroleum Corp., the country's largest oil producer leading the project, the drilling will provide new data on the Earth's internal structure and test China's latest deep underground drilling technologies.

Deep-Earth exploration is connected to China's hunt for resources. China's President Xi Jinping addressed this topic in a speech in 2021, calling for progress in deep-Earth discoveries, especially when it comes to identifying mineral and energy resources and being able to predict environmental disasters.

The world's deepest manmade hole is the Kola Superdeep Borehole. Drilled by the Societ Union, it is located in northwest Russia. It reached a depth of 12,262 meters (40,230 feet) in 1989, after 20 years of drilling.

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