"At that level of heat and pressure, the rocks began to act more like a plastic than a solid, and the hole had a tendency to flow closed whenever the drill bit was pulled out for replacement."
This visualises a generalised lithological log: That means, some of the rocks recovered from the hole, and their thicknesses.
Let's seee if I manage to make the script more interactive.
I think we've crossed the line from documentary to creepypasta.
It's kind of hard to believe how our species has managed to explore furthest of planets, stars and galaxies while just drilling 7.62 miles through the crust of the very planet we exist on and "dominate"  -- a testament to how challenging crust drilling can be, right on par with exploring deepest parts of Earth's oceans.
Imagine how much mass that drillbit had to go through and now translate that into the density of interstellar medium. You could probably travel half way across the galaxy before your space ship went through as much matter as that drill.
except if you read the footnotes it says that Exxon beat the world's record for length of borehole in 60 days. Sounds like drilling in the crust is NBD, been doing it for years, the innovation is all in how to make it turn and twist and do so on time and under budget.
My sense is that it's just not economically rational to drill a hole straight down for no other reason than you want to see how far it can go. Why bother? But it doesn't seem at all to be a technical problem.
What did/does such a project cost?
Is there substantial scientific value to going further?
I can imagine some tech billionaire(s) funding a follow-on project, esp in a more hospitable location that could attract tourists, press, etc.
I believe they are trialling this in a few places but I can't help but think that a hole that small (circumference wise!) could be easily implemented and potentially used as an energy source
Potentially, some extra energy to go with your geothermal energy.
In other words I'm confused by why 180C stopped the drilling process.
At that depth, pressure and temperature, the rock behaved like plastic and not solid and the drill was ineffective since the hole would immediately close as they pulled the drill. So they had to give up.
Ninja-edit: It looks like the temperature / pressure isn't so problematic because of rock moving around, but instead to do with cooling the drill bit (which you can imagine gets quite hot). If temperatures increase, cooling the bit becomes difficult, and at high-pressures, pumping the coolant around becomes very difficult.
Did they find any precious metals, etc.?
Also, I'm wondering, is it possible to measure the depth of the hole using a laser?
[From the Wikipedia article:] To scientists, one of the more fascinating findings to emerge from this well is that no transition from granite to basalt was found at the depth of about 7 km (4.3 mi), where the velocity of seismic waves has a discontinuity. Instead the change in the seismic wave velocity is caused by a metamorphic transition in the granite rock. In addition, the rock at that depth had been thoroughly fractured and was saturated with water, which was surprising. This water, unlike surface water, must have come from deep-crust minerals and had been unable to reach the surface because of a layer of impermeable rock.
Another unexpected discovery was a large quantity of hydrogen gas. The mud that flowed out of the hole was described as "boiling" with hydrogen.
> Did they find any precious metals, etc.?
These concentrate in veins, so the single borehole would not be the best way to find out. They were probably recorded in mud logs somewhere.
> is it possible to measure the depth of the hole using a laser
Holes like this are very rarely totally straight as the geology likes to manipulate the drill string as it descends. Whilst this won't be a true deviated well (due to the research goals) I'd be very surprised if there's a vertical hole.
This is what makes me think that drilling to great depths and utilizing the energy there for sustainable power generation should be possible.
It's just a matter of developing the right drilling technology. How hard can it be?
As for for rewarming the rock: if the strata that were porous and water filled were found at the appropriate levels this problem would be reduced. One would not need to hydro-shear the rock is normal in EGS plants nowadays (with some inconvenient side-effects - see Basel)
Ok, is the reported depth the true depth, or the length along the hole?
The depth is the true depth, apparently.
Would be surprised if it's perfectly straight. Drills for oil etc can turn .
In general I find science journalism lacking.
My biggest problem with SciShow is that it's a bunch of people who lack a true science background commenting on topics. I really don't think that they do their due diligence in reporting, there's been cases where they present incorrect findings, and hype up the physically impossible.
- Andre Geim, Physics, 2010
- Konstantin Novoselov, Physics, 2010
- Alexei Alexeyevich Abrikosov, Physics, 2003
- Vitaly Ginzburg, Physics, 2003
- Zhores Alferov, Physics, 2000
- Pyotr Kapitsa, Physics, 1978
- Ilya Prigogine, Chemistry, 1977
- Leonid Kantorovich, Economics, 1975
- Nikolay Basov, Physics, 1964
- Alexander Prokhorov, Physics, 1964
- Lev Landau, Physics, 1962
- Pavel Cherenkov, Physics, 1958
- Igor Tamm, Physics, 1958
- Ilya Mikhailovich Frank, Physics, 1958
- Nikolay Semyonov, Chemistry, 1956
List of Nobel Prizes educated in post-Soviet Russia:
Or will you suggest that a country where communism is "scientific" and whole areas of science can be banned is actually capable of developing homegrown science? This is laughable on its face.
Your claim is that most of these Nobel prizes were educated in the Russian Empire is simply false based on their age.
Can you provide examples of these whole areas of science banned in the USSR/socialist states?
I guess you have never heard about genetics? It's generally considered to be a science. Except in USSR where for a long time it was officially termed a pseudo-science and a call-girl of imperialism.
What you're talking about is Lysenkoism and it was mostly during Stalin rule. Later Soviet biologists actually criticized Lysenko and the whole anti-genetics stance. Similar movements also happened in Western science, like Social Darwinism for example.
Also, soviet high elementary through high school education was... I'm not sure if "better" is the correct word, but it certainly taught more science than American schools do, if we compare average American school with a good school in Moscow, Leningrad, or similar large cities.
College level education in USSR was nowhere near as good as American -- you can't have good education if teaching people to think for themselves is physically dangerous.
[Source: I attended better than average schools and a decent college in Moscow]