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If he digs a hole while he is down there then he can set a new world depth record.

I don't think so. The depth record for an artificial hole is held by the Kola Superdeep Borehole. It reached a depth of 12,262m (relative, presumably, to ground level).

The lowest known point in the Challenger Deep is 10,911m below sea level.

Unless they started 1350m or so above sea level, he's gonna hafta do some serious digging down there to make up the difference.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kola_superdeep_borehole http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Extreme_points_of_Earth

Wikipedia seems to indicate that the Kola superdeep borehole has since been surpassed in 2008 and 2011 by oil drilling operations. The current record holder is Sakhalin-I at 12,345 meters: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sakhalin-I

In fact, if you read that article more carefully, you'll find you're not reading the relevant part of that article.

The Kola Superdeep Borehole set two records: deepest point reached, and longest borehole. The latter record was, as you say, surpassed twice by oil operations. But if you look at the context of the comment I was replying to, it's clear that Dr Stalker was talking about deepest point reached (surely no one thinks Cameron could dig a multiple-kilometer hole from his submarine). And so it is the deepest-point-reached record that is relevant, which was not surpassed by oil operations. This is because those oil boreholes are diagonal, with a large horizontal component.

Also, based on the information I could find, I don't actually know how deep the KSB is, relative to sea level, because I don't know what altitude its "ground level" is, and all the depth measurements I could find are relative to ground level.

No, that 12,345 meters for Sakhalin-I is not depth. It is the total length of the well, and 80%+ of that is horizontal deviation.

The deepest oil well that I know of is BP's Tiber well: http://www.bp.com/genericarticle.do?categoryId=2012968&c..., 10685 m but probably measured from the rig floor, so about 9400 m actual drilled depth, starting 1259 m subsea.

By the way, the extra amazing thing about the Kola well is that core was collected over the entire well depth. This means that the drill string had to be pulled out hundreds of times during drilling to recover the core, and explains why the project took 20-odd years to complete.

The starting elevation of the Kola Superdeep Borehole is reported as 350 m asl, though on the map in one of the papers I have it looks closer to 320 m.

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