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China starts drilling superdeep borehole in landmark deep-Earth exploration

Xinhua | Updated: 2023-05-30 14:14
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This aerial photo taken on May 30, 2023 shows the drilling project of a borehole over 10,000 meters deep for scientific exploration in Northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region. [Photo/Xinhua]

URUMQI -- The drilling of China's first borehole over 10,000 meters deep for scientific exploration began on Tuesday in the Tarim Basin, Northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region.

The operation started at 11:46 am on Tuesday. It represents a landmark in China's deep-Earth exploration, providing an unprecedented opportunity to study areas of the planet deep beneath the surface.

With a design depth of 11,100 meters, the borehole is located in the hinterland of the Taklimakan Desert, the largest desert in China.

During the drilling process, the equipment, including drill bits and drill pipes weighing more than 2,000 tonnes, will go deep into the Earth, penetrating more than 10 continental strata, including the Cretaceous system.

Wang Chunsheng, a technical expert who joined the operation, said that drilling a borehole over 10,000 meters deep is a bold attempt to explore the unknown territory of the Earth and expand the boundaries of human understanding.

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

The Tarim Basin is one of the most difficult areas to explore due to its harsh ground environment and complicated underground conditions.


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