Scientists plan to drill all the way down to the Earth's mantle

Mar 25, 2011 by Bob Yirka report
Credit: World Book illustration by Raymond Perlman and Steven Brayfield, Artisan-Chicago

(PhysOrg.com) -- In what can only be described as a mammoth undertaking, scientists, led by British co-chiefs, Dr Damon Teagle of the National Oceanography Centre in Southampton, England and Dr Benoit Ildefonse from Montpellier University in France, have announced jointly in an article in Nature that they intend to drill a hole through the Earth’s crust and into the mantle; a feat never before accomplished, much less seriously attempted.

The ’s mantle is the part of the planet that lies between the crust and the iron ball at its center, and to reach it, would require drilling down from a position in the ocean, because the crust is much thinner there. Even still, it would mean drilling through five miles of solid rock. And if that doesn’t sound hard enough, temperatures increase the farther down you go, and could reach as high as 1,050 degrees Fahrenheit; high enough to render useless most modern drill bits. Last but not least is the problem of atmospheric pressure, which increases the deeper you go, to somewhere in the neighborhood of 4 million pounds per square foot near the mantle. That last one may not seem like much of a problem, but with exploratory drilling, it becomes a problem rather quickly when you remember that it’s not just a hole they plan to dig, but a hole that can be used to extract samples from very far below.

To retrieve a sample, the drillers would have to rely on drills without a riser (drills that use double pipes for venting gases) which would mean pumping seawater down into the hole through the drill pipe with sufficient pressure to force whatever is being dug back up to the surface so that it can be examined.

This would not be the first time that a sample of the would be recovered however, as volcanoes and such have been forcing under-crust material to the surface for eons; it would be the first time that a sample was found though that hasn’t been tainted by the process that brought it up to us, and that scientists say, is worth whatever the cost might add up to over time as the project carries on through years of laborious drilling.

The pair plan to begin searching for a suitable site somewhere in the Pacific this spring, but don’t expect the technology, nor the funding to allow them to start till perhaps 2018.

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El_Nose
2.3 / 5 (15) Mar 25, 2011
why not drill in the more geologically stable atlantic... i remember the ring of fire in social studies class... the pacific is so unstable that i just see this as the tipping point and goodby California... it was bound to happen one way or the other i guess.
Doug_Huffman
4.5 / 5 (12) Mar 25, 2011
More hysterically, the drillers will be held responsible for each subsequent exceptional EQ. Post hoc ergo propter hoc.
FrankHerbert
2 / 5 (20) Mar 25, 2011
LOL yeah Doug's got it right. I'm wondering El_Nose, are you a global warming denier? I have no reason to believe so, but (because they happen to be common around here) if you are one, I find it very odd you think humanity couldn't affect the climate, but one hole could cause California to sink into the sea. Not saying you believe this, just pointing it out in case you do.
Parsec
4.7 / 5 (9) Mar 25, 2011
why not drill in the more geologically stable atlantic... i remember the ring of fire in social studies class... the pacific is so unstable that i just see this as the tipping point and goodby California... it was bound to happen one way or the other i guess.


The Pacific isn't unstable dude.
jjoensuu
2.5 / 5 (11) Mar 25, 2011
why not go all the way to the core while at it...
apex01
3.7 / 5 (10) Mar 25, 2011
Global Warming mentioned already. Wow
Doug_Huffman
3.4 / 5 (5) Mar 25, 2011
why not go all the way to the core while at it...
still, it would mean drilling through five miles of solid rock. And if that doesnt sound hard enough, temperatures ... could reach as high as 570 degrees Fahrenheit; high enough to render useless most modern drill bits. Last but not least is the problem of ... pressure, ... in the neighborhood of 4 million pounds per square foot *near* the mantle.
Uhhh, can't?
omatumr
2.9 / 5 (11) Mar 25, 2011
Thanks for this interesting story.

Many, many years ago I was suppose to receive samples from the MOHOLE project to sample the Earth's mantle.

As I recall the project was cancelled after it was discovered that the contractor made a large contribution to then President Lyndon Baines Johnson !

In 1981 Professor Dwarka Das Sabu and I used the inventory of radiogenic and primordial noble gases in the Earth and its atmosphere to figure out how the Earth's core, mantle, crust, oceans and atmosphere formed.

"The noble gas record of the terrestrial planets", Geochemical Journal 15, 247-267 (1981).

www.omatumr.com/a...eGas.pdf

With kind regards,
Oliver K. Manuel
Former NASA Principal
Investigator for Apollo
grgfraiser
4.9 / 5 (8) Mar 25, 2011
This would be a perfect time to study deep drilling for geothermal energy production also. if they can get some company to take intrest it might cut down the cost.
kaasinees
1 / 5 (10) Mar 25, 2011
I bet they were thinking "Hey lets drill to the mantle, when we do it its in gods hands."
eigenbasis
2 / 5 (9) Mar 25, 2011
Anyone else thinking journey to the center of the Earth?
ziprar
3 / 5 (3) Mar 25, 2011
not going to happen in the near future
david13579
1 / 5 (5) Mar 25, 2011
Silly scientists, just get some Unobtainium
Silverhill
4.7 / 5 (3) Mar 25, 2011
a feat never before accomplished, much less seriously attempted.
No, there have been at least three deep-drilling projects already:
Project Mohole, begun in 1961; see (http:) //en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Project_Mohole
The Kola Superdeep Borehole in Russia, begun in 1970; see (http:) //en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kola_Superdeep_Borehole
Japan's Integrated Deep Ocean Drilling Program, begun in 2007; see (http:) //en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chiky%C5%AB

would require drilling down from a position in the ocean, because the crust is much thinner there.
I don't know that an oceanic location is *required*, but it is in some ways *easier*.
Silverhill
5 / 5 (18) Mar 25, 2011
the problem of atmospheric pressure, which increases the deeper you go, to somewhere in the neighborhood of 4 million pounds per square foot near the mantle.
It's not *atmospheric* pressure that becomes that great at large depths: it's the pressure of the surrounding rock, due to the increasing weight of the overburden, acting on rock that grows softer with increasing temperature.

Also, "pounds per square foot" is not a measure that is as familiar to most PhysOrg readers as is "pounds per square inch"; I suppose that psf was used because 4 million is a more impressive number than 27,800 (the approximate amount in psi). Writers, don't go for spectacular language at the expense of ease of comprehension. (Whichever number is used, though, it's still beyond direct imagining!)

Regardless of square feet or square inches, it would be useful to a large number of readers to express the pressure with a modern unit also: the pascal, the SI unit of pressure. (4,000,000 psf = 190 MPa)
cmn
5 / 5 (8) Mar 25, 2011
If these guys wake up a dragon, I'm not letting them stay in my shelter.
anthonys
5 / 5 (1) Mar 25, 2011
within the last two weeks there was a report on the thinness of the earth's crust at the Hawaiian volcanoes (approx 3 miles??) - wouldn't this be the area to start in?
tkn
1 / 5 (1) Mar 25, 2011
Once oil is finished we will have plenty of deep pcean 'holes' left on our planet. take one such thing and keep drilling further... how about that.
jknaak
2.8 / 5 (9) Mar 25, 2011
drill baby drill!!
Crabotage
2.5 / 5 (2) Mar 25, 2011
Once oil is finished we will have plenty of deep ocean 'holes' left on our planet. take one such thing and keep drilling further... how about that.


i like this idea
HealingMindN
2 / 5 (4) Mar 25, 2011
Do these "scientists" happen to work for BP or some other oil cartel?
HaveYouConsidered
1.9 / 5 (7) Mar 25, 2011
Drill to the mantle? Why? Don't volcanoes deliver the mantle to us already?
trekgeek1
5 / 5 (1) Mar 25, 2011
If these guys wake up a dragon, I'm not letting them stay in my shelter.


However I will keep the dragon in my garage. Don't believe me? Prove the contrary :)
Greenmoon
1.6 / 5 (5) Mar 25, 2011
Lots of pressure within the Earth. So we dig a big hole, it compresses and then what?..........Or, we can just leave it open for the ocean to erode it into an even bigger hole and then what?
brentrobot
3 / 5 (2) Mar 26, 2011
I wonder if you could melt your way down with a narrow tough nuclear reactor. I guess it would need to be heavier than 4 million pounds per square foot of cross sectional area.

Hmmmmm......if it had ballast tanks like a submarine, holding liquid lead that could be automatically expelled at a specified depth, and a mechanical sample grabber.
unknownorgin
4.2 / 5 (5) Mar 26, 2011
If they drill in the right spot they might get a very large sample in the form of a volcano. Several decades ago they drilled 8 miles deep using aluminium drill sections and only the cutting bit turned using a mud turbine. They found alot of copper and nickle but the rock was pressure fractured so the hole caved in. This was in a science magazine in the 80s ,I dont know if I can mention the magazine name but it has been an american scientific magazine since the 1800s.
Sanescience
4.5 / 5 (4) Mar 26, 2011
I give this low chance. Heat and pressure turns rock into a taffy like consistency that acts more like gum than "rock". Wonder if the pumping of sea water is to keep the hole/tunnel solid than as much as anything else.

All in all, seems like the money could be better spent.
Moebius
3.4 / 5 (7) Mar 26, 2011
This would be a perfect time to study deep drilling for geothermal energy production also. if they can get some company to take intrest it might cut down the cost.


I don't understand why we aren't developing methods to tap into a virtually free, totally clean and unlimited source of power that literally sits beneath the feet of every person on the planet.
Doug_Huffman
3 / 5 (2) Mar 26, 2011
It is in no way free or "virtually free" (the word following virtually is almost always a lie).

Q=UAT and the A=Area is expensive. Who fails to do arithmetic is doomed to nonsense.
luciano_dalcol
3.2 / 5 (6) Mar 26, 2011
Global Warming has nothing to do with this discussion! Geez! And yes, the Pacific plate is one of the most unstable of all (however, it's also the thinnest and deepest of all). The other stuff (specially the use of millions of pounds per square feet) is quite disturbing when used that way, but it just shows the intention of the article itself - create a debate over nothing. Just need to read the last lines: project won't start anytime before 2018! In the current world economic situation, projects like that will be halted until further notice, and, who knows?, even forgotten later...
Moebius
3.1 / 5 (7) Mar 26, 2011
It is in no way free or "virtually free" (the word following virtually is almost always a lie).


It's free in that no one owns the heat in the earth and it can't be owned by mineral rights like oil and gas. It's free because it is everywhere, if you have land to drill and you drill deep enough it's there. It's free in that it doesn't need prospecting to find.

It is obviously no more free to actually develop into energy than any other energy source but in all other respects it is a universal, unlimited, clean source that if developed can meet all our current and projected energy needs virtually forever without any harmful byproducts.
mfritz0
3.8 / 5 (4) Mar 26, 2011
OK, so here it is again. This is someone's pipe dream. The rock is molten for a reason, it's hot down there and it's under a lot of pressure, so unless you have a drill made out of some element or material not found on this planet, it's gonna melt when it's down there. Try using a nuclear powered laser beam and pump water down there to cool the walls of the hole, but oh wait, those will melt too unless you continually replace the water with colder water. What you end up with is geothermal energy, and if you don't harness it you will be wasting it topside. Eventually you may make the the surrounding rock colder to where it remains solid, but why? The Earth is not hollow, and the devil is not down there.
Doug_Huffman
3 / 5 (2) Mar 26, 2011
It is in no way free or "virtually free" (the word following virtually is almost always a lie).


It's free in that no one owns the heat in the earth and it can't be owned by mineral rights like oil and gas.
Are you familiar with the commons, as in "abuse of the commons"? How about the feds regulation of the common radiofrequency domains, right or wrong? If I recover/harness the BTUs then I own them.
grayjs5099
2.3 / 5 (9) Mar 26, 2011
In regards to the global warming comment, most scientists now don't believe that global warming is human caused. Here on earth, our climate is directly associated with our sun. More solar flares equal higher temperatures.
Caliban
4.5 / 5 (8) Mar 26, 2011
In regards to the global warming comment, most scientists now don't believe that global warming is human caused. Here on earth, our climate is directly associated with our sun. More solar flares equal higher temperatures.


Bullshit.

"Most Scientists"? Let's see a citation for this wildly unsupportable claim.

Sten
3 / 5 (2) Mar 26, 2011
And here I thought we had just gone through a period of low sun spot activity that had actually extended well past the, what, 11 year cycle? Continued for so much longer, that some were beginning to wonder what our sun was up to. But hey, don't let me rain on a good rant.
Jaydawg
not rated yet Mar 26, 2011
Assuming the Earth's crust is somewhat proportional to the radius of the earth - wouldn't this mean that the crust is thinner at the poles? I would have thought the best place to drill would be off the Antarctic continent somewhere. Of course I'm no expert, but might be of interest for discussion
Burnerjack
4 / 5 (2) Mar 26, 2011
Although off topic, Someone other than myself has proposed using the myriad of closed oil and nat gas bores as a starting point for geothermal energy production. Drilling is reportedly expensive, but not so much if you start halfway there (for example). Of course, this only applies to vertical wells. I would also offer that if a coaxial bore is sent down far enough, fracturing the surrounding strata may not be necessary. Theoretically, geothermal is everywhere, so that whole NIMBY thing with additional Grid capacity is averted through distributed power generation. Hence, clean electric economy and infrastructure. Sorry, the mention of Global Warming pushed me over the edge...Compared to the cash outlay for Nukes, this seems doable(?).
regnar11b
3 / 5 (2) Mar 26, 2011
Drill in the ocean because the continents are a thicker crust of sedimentary scum scrapped up from the ocean floor and metamorphic rocks. The mantle is primarily igneous rock that doesn't have miles of continent on top of it and IG is more solid and stable then Sed or meta rocks. Human global warming such as some above comments mentioned is nill compared to earths natural cycles found in ice core samples. I would be more scared of overpopulation on the earth then climate change... Also massive amounts of Co2 have been found to increase prior to past ice ages when humans were not around. With the pressure and heat issue, I agree this isn't possible unless nanotube technology is improved or some type of material that will withstand those pressures and heat levels is developed. Plus it isn't a huge hole, a core drill is often 8"-10" in width.... but with sonar we can already look at the depths of the earth...
FrankHerbert
1 / 5 (5) Mar 27, 2011
Global warming.
ubavontuba
3.9 / 5 (11) Mar 27, 2011
So they poke a hole in the crust... hot magma comes gushing out in a humongous geyser... and the earth goes flitting about the solar system like a deflating balloon! WHEEE-EE-E-ee-e-e!

No, wait... they poke a hole in the crust... the oceans drain into it... oops!

No, wait... they poke a hole in the crust... and they find out the mantle is surprisingly made of cheese!

No, wait... they poke a hole in the crust... a giant eye looks at them... a beak starts hammering and pecking at the hole... the earth breaks apart... and out pops the mythical and mighty phoenix!

No, wait... they poke a hole in the crust... find the earth is hollow... and there's a lost world inside, full of dinosaurs!

...or aliens!

No, wait... they poke a hole in the crust... and a drill emerges just a few feet away... apparently from scientists poking a hole from another dimension!

No, wait... they poke a hole in the crust... the drill acts as a conductor to the earth's internal dynamo... ZAP!
Doug_Huffman
Mar 27, 2011
This comment has been removed by a moderator.
Eikka
5 / 5 (1) Mar 27, 2011

Regardless of square feet or square inches, it would be useful to a large number of readers to express the pressure with a modern unit also: the pascal, the SI unit of pressure. (4,000,000 psf = 190 MPa)


Or better yet, express it in bars or atms so that people would actually have some reference point of how much that is.

The Pascal is a very inconvinient unit because it's so small. Pretty much nobody even in metric countries knows how many Pa there is in a bicycle tire, because it's not simply "4", it's 400 or maybe it was kilos, so 400 000, or was it 40 000 or... who cares, I'll just use bars. It's four bars, approximately four times the normal air pressure.

190 MPa would be 1900 bars.
jimbob2000
not rated yet Mar 27, 2011
This experiment could yield technology allowing easier access to deep underground resources.
sender
not rated yet Mar 27, 2011
beam power drilling would work
bigsur
5 / 5 (2) Mar 27, 2011
If all else fails they could make a movie about it.
TheGhostofOtto1923
3.7 / 5 (6) Mar 27, 2011
No, wait... they poke a hole in the crust... the drill acts as a conductor to the earth's internal dynamo... ZAP!
No wait- out come SATAN and all his demons to stick us with their pitchforks and carry us all off to HELL, even the good ones. Maybe we better not.

I recall a Tom Swift book where the young genius attempted this:
"Tom Swift and His Atomic Earth Blaster"
-Dont remember how it turned out-
Burnerjack
3.3 / 5 (4) Mar 27, 2011
Regnar 11b: There is no place for your common sense and informed comments based on fact rather than the hysterical Lame Stream Media outlets we've grown accustomed to. What are you trying to do?! Kill the Stampede?! Geesh! Alright you sheeple! Back to the stampede!
CO2 levels variing according to Earth's natural cycles? What form of heretical nonsense is this? Sheeple! Ignore this person who dares infuse facts into public discussion!!
Bigblumpkin36
4.5 / 5 (2) Mar 27, 2011
We need to drill for tiger blood
Caliban
5 / 5 (1) Mar 27, 2011
OK, so here it is again. This is someone's pipe dream. The rock is molten for a reason, it's hot down there and it's under a lot of pressure, so unless you have a drill made out of some element or material not found on this planet, it's gonna melt when it's down there. [...] What you end up with is geothermal energy, and if you don't harness it you will be wasting it topside. Eventually you may make the the surrounding rock colder to where it remains solid, but why? The Earth is not hollow, and the devil is not down there.


Perhaps the collaterally co-generated geothermal could be used to power the drill? If the bore is continually cooled by the introducion of cold seawater, then the heat of the material will become less of an issue.

It would be nice to see what mineral facies are down there, since very few intact specimens make it to the surface due to changes in temp/hydro/pressure during their slow transport to the surface.

Caliban
5 / 5 (2) Mar 27, 2011
Regnar 11b: There is no place for your common sense and informed comments based on fact rather than the hysterical Lame Stream Media outlets we've grown accustomed to. What are you trying to do?! Kill the Stampede?! Geesh! Alright you sheeple! Back to the stampede!
CO2 levels variing according to Earth's natural cycles? What form of heretical nonsense is this? Sheeple! Ignore this person who dares infuse facts into public discussion!!


It's off-topic, but the solar cycle(more narrowly Total Solar Irradiance), while certainly having an effect upon climate/change, is only one factor involved. If you additionally factor in that the Earth's orbit is now taking us into the distal part of the Northern Hemisphere's irradiance cycle, climate should be cooling -when in fact, we observe the opposite. Observation is contrary to expectation.

Quite a puzzle for the sheeple, eh?

zevkirsh
not rated yet Mar 27, 2011
instead of 'deep' drilling. they should develop 'cheap' drilling. why in hell is drilling so expensive?
kaasinees
1 / 5 (1) Mar 27, 2011
The materials and production for drilling cost ALOT. Than there is the expensive man hours. Add it up.
resinoth
not rated yet Mar 27, 2011
Drill to the mantle? Why? Don't volcanoes deliver the mantle to us already?


yeah, why not go in AT a volcano?
stealthc
1 / 5 (1) Mar 27, 2011
if they are going to do that then they may as well create a geothermal power plant out of the hole that's left over.
abhishekbt
1 / 5 (2) Mar 28, 2011
They are drilling to the mantle and then pumping seawater in?
I foresee so many problems.... Doesn't anyone else?

What if it generates enough steam to build up pressure inside the mantle! Simultaneous Volcanoe blast anyone?

Water flows from higher to lower ground and they are creating a hole from higher ground to lower ground? What if they fail to seal this 'hole' and water starts leaking downward. Maybe we will manage to cool down the mantle by a few degrees! Who knows what effect that will have!

What if the extreme temperature at the code sucks out all the water and empties our oceans!!
Bigblumpkin36
not rated yet Mar 28, 2011
They need to drill in the Yellowstone caldera that would be cool if we could release some of the presure but it would never happen
Jayman
not rated yet Mar 28, 2011
What is the point anyway? What do they hope to uncover?
ultrasnow
4 / 5 (1) Mar 28, 2011
Maybe we'll find microbes living in the mantle
Yellowdart
1 / 5 (1) Mar 28, 2011
They are drilling to the mantle and then pumping seawater in?
I foresee so many problems.... Doesn't anyone else?


You have to pump water and mud into the hole quickly in order to keep it open as you go deeper.

The other two major deep drilling projects were done in Germany (5.7 miles) and Russia (7.6 miles). Both holes actually encountered salt water at about twice the concentration of sea water flowing through crushed granite or cracks. Both were forced to shut down due to the increasing temperature.

However, that's been a decade or more so trying again with better technology may allow them to drill deeper, esp if they are able to drill in a location with a thinner crust or depth to the mantle.

You want to avoid volcanos as well, as the contents coming out of a surface volcano differ from say the magma oozing out of the seafloor.
woody33
2.3 / 5 (3) Mar 28, 2011
"its not just a hole they plan to dig, but a hole that can be used to extract samples from very far below"
...why they just don't fake it, like they did it with the moon landing and moon rocks... :-)
pakfan1998
5 / 5 (1) Mar 28, 2011
How are they going to get the tiny French and British flags down there to lay claim to it?
TomEm
not rated yet Mar 28, 2011
You would have thought that our unfortunate experience with the mole men during the Silsby drilling would have been enough to discourage further attempts at reaching the center of the earth. With Superman no longer around, this time it might not end so well.
vespero mundi expectando
John_Stockton
1 / 5 (1) Mar 29, 2011
I feel like saying - who gave them permission to drill into my Earth? Who knows what the repercussions might be? I feel this is irresponsible. Leave the damn core alone.
jway
5 / 5 (2) Mar 29, 2011
Interesting that no on wonders if they'll find god or that other guy. Is our belief in an imaginary god over now?
bodiddly
5 / 5 (2) Mar 29, 2011
i am a geoscientist in the oil and gas industry. this idea in practice is as hare-brained and far-fetched as the carbon nanotube space elevator.

good luck, dr teagle
bodiddly
5 / 5 (2) Mar 29, 2011
let me explain, an offshore oil well at 5000m cost 100m USD. the cost increased geometrically, not linearly, with depth. your cased borehole starts around 24in at the top and end maybe at 6in at depth. and youre only 1/10th there. this is over a 3 month period where the drill string needs to be returned to fit new worn out bits. the pressure and compaction of the rock at depth will chew up the cutters like nothing. heavy heavy drilling muds/fluids are needed to stabilize the hole to prevent kicks and cave-ins. where to store the mud, and what mud weight rq to at 20km down? and the endless stands/pipes? the logistics of this makes it a virtual physical impossibility.
SaveEarth
1.7 / 5 (6) Mar 29, 2011
Don't we have enough problems above ground?. Try solving that first before you go playing Indiana Jones with our lives at stake. Where do this guys come from?. Jesus helps us now.

Sniceder
1 / 5 (1) Mar 29, 2011
Oh, this is just great, just what we need. Don't these people have something better to do - like an anti-obesity pill, or permanent food, or a completely delightful toy that anyone can make out of dirt?

Sure, sure, poke a hole in the planet and let all the air out sending it spinning and zooming off like a balloon in the darkness and absolute coldness of space ! What'll they think up next?
CheeseHead
not rated yet Mar 29, 2011
Will these guys be available to unclog my kitchen sink?
Chengdu
1 / 5 (1) Mar 29, 2011
...I recall reading that the thinest section of the earths crust is located at long valley caldera near mammoth mountian in California...Then again, that would cause way too many problems with enviromentalists and all.
KnickKname
4 / 5 (4) Mar 29, 2011
What is the point anyway? What do they hope to uncover?

They search for the final resting place of Tanar of Pelucidor.
ja_stoddart
not rated yet Mar 29, 2011
could reach as high as 570 degrees Fahrenheit, Damn that's hot, I had no idea that my self-cleaning oven could make magma.
ubavontuba
3.4 / 5 (5) Mar 29, 2011
@KnickKname:

Whoever downranked you for that has no imagination. Your Edgar Rice Burroughs reference deserves a 5.

I fondly remember spending many a youthful hour reading ERB's tales. What an imagination!
michele_briere
1 / 5 (2) Mar 29, 2011
We have all these people who are hungry, need medicine, basic human needs, and you want to spend the money drilling a hole to the center of the earth? Ignoring that moment of reality...

My imagination is going into over-time with an image of a hole leading from the ocean floor all the way to the molten core, and then all the water cascading in and snuffing the core like water on a candle.
mfritz0
1 / 5 (3) Mar 29, 2011
The idea of drilling a hole in the Earth to this depth reminds me of watching a small child light a firecracker. He slowly creeps up to the firecracker laying on the ground (the un-dug hole)He carefully lights the fuse, (drilling the hole). The firecracker explodes and permanently injures the child because he was unprepared for the results, (the results when you get through to the molten core). The same analogy could be made about the young boy who tries to see what is inside a golf ball by digging a hole into it with a pocket knife, only to find the latex center squirting out the small hole right into his eye, blinding him. Don't laugh, it happens.
nutafinga
not rated yet Mar 29, 2011
Acupuncture for Mother Earth? Sounds like a good idea. We should really try blood-letting first.
bill_starr
3 / 5 (2) Mar 29, 2011
Who's the sugar daddy footing the bill for this?
Cureautism
1 / 5 (2) Mar 29, 2011
The British and French Scientists are going to rust the earth's iron core with corrosive sea water. Why don't they drill in the Bermuda Triangle instead? The Earth is Doomed.
TheGhostofOtto1923
2.3 / 5 (3) Mar 29, 2011
i am a geoscientist in the oil and gas industry. this idea in practice is as hare-brained and far-fetched as the carbon nanotube space elevator.

good luck, dr teagle
"That is the biggest fool thing we have ever done. The [atomic] bomb will never go off, and I speak as an expert in explosives." Adm Leahy to Harry Truman 1945
TheGhostofOtto1923
3.7 / 5 (6) Mar 29, 2011
Don't we have enough problems above ground?. Try solving that first before you go playing Indiana Jones with our lives at stake. Where do this guys come from?. Jesus helps us now.
Let me offer some constructive criticism;

1) There is no jesus unless you mean some hispanic guy with contacts (amigos).

2) You appear to be enamoured with fictional stereotypes and equate their antics with what scientists do. This is in error.

3) Re your jesus comment: you also seem to think that the less we know about the earth and everything else, the better off we will be. This is also in error. I believe this hispanic fellow may have led you astray in this respect.
omatumr
1 / 5 (3) Mar 29, 2011
Who's the sugar daddy footing the bill for this?


Taxpayers.

The climate scandal exposed the game federal funding agencies developed soon after Eisenhowers 1961 warning in farewell address to the nation:

The prospect of domination of the nations scholars by Federal employment, project allocations, and the power of money is ever present and is gravely to be regarded.

Yet, in holding scientific research and discovery in respect, as we should, we must also be alert to the equal and opposite danger that public policy could itself become the captive of a scientific-technological elite.

It is the task of statesmanship to mold, to balance, and to integrate these and other forces, new and old, within the principles of our democratic system ever aiming toward the supreme goals of our free society.

Eisenhower's Farewell Address to the Nation

mcadams.posc.mu.edu/ike.htm

www.youtube.com/w...ld5PR4ts

With kind regards,
Oliver K. Manuel
Former NASA PI for Apollo
bodiddly
5 / 5 (1) Mar 30, 2011
"That is the biggest fool thing we have ever done. The [atomic] bomb will never go off, and I speak as an expert in explosives." Adm Leahy to Harry Truman 1945

actually, that was 1943. at that time, there had been fewer than 10 years research on the atomic bomb. (he would later recant his statement)

we've been drilling prolifically for over 100 years.

admiral leahy had also never worked in a scientific or engineering capacity.

but nice try.
Egnite
not rated yet Mar 30, 2011
Sounds like a worthwhile project imo. Possibly a waste of time and resources but if they were to succeed, the new tech they will have developed to do so should be pretty impressive.

photon torpedos to make the hole then containment fields to keep it open, all far-fetched sci-fi just now but it's defo not a task for an oil drill.
TheGhostofOtto1923
2.3 / 5 (3) Mar 30, 2011
we've been drilling prolifically for over 100 years.
And from leahys experience weve been exploding for far longer than that. Perhaps this would be a kind of drilling you're not familiar with. Yes?
KnickKname
5 / 5 (2) Mar 30, 2011
@KnickKname:

Whoever downranked you for that has no imagination. Your Edgar Rice Burroughs reference deserves a 5.

I fondly remember spending many a youthful hour reading ERB's tales. What an imagination!


I thank you for your kind words. In retrospect, however, perhaps I should downrank myself for misspelling Pelucidar!, not Pelucidor. It was too early for me to shoot from the hip, it seems.
baudrunner
not rated yet Mar 30, 2011
The last attempt to 'dig the deepest hole ever dug' was a conerted efort by the Russians in the Kola Peninsula. The job had to be abandoned after 19 years, without the goal of reaching the mantle having been attained. This means that if the project is begun in 2018, then success (if so) would not be seen within many of our lifetimes.
ubavontuba
1 / 5 (1) Mar 30, 2011
I thank you for your kind words. In retrospect, however, perhaps I should downrank myself for misspelling Pelucidar!, not Pelucidor. It was too early for me to shoot from the hip, it seems.
All is forgiven. I mean, it's not like it's a common use word...

Did you read, Tarzan at the Earth's Core? That was fun. It's actually the first Tarzan book I read. After that (of course) I had to read them all. What fun.
panorama
not rated yet Mar 30, 2011
Acupuncture for Mother Earth? Sounds like a good idea. We should really try blood-letting first.

Wouldn't this be Earthly Trepanation, not acupuncture? These scientists are trying to open the earth's third nostril, and I for one welcome it.
bodiddly
not rated yet Mar 31, 2011
we've been drilling prolifically for over 100 years.
And from leahys experience weve been exploding for far longer than that. Perhaps this would be a kind of drilling you're not familiar with. Yes?

and we've been boring holes into the ground long before black powder and explosives. afraid youre just missing out on the analogy and scale here
RayM
5 / 5 (1) Mar 31, 2011
Anybody remember the 60's movie "Crack in the World"? Fun bad-science romp. In it, scientists sent a rocket downwards(!!) into the Earth, resulting in a puncture... that started a tear. One thing leads to another, and by the end of the movie, a chunk of the Earth was blown off into a new moon. Heh. Never mind things like Gravity...
Terrible_Bohr
5 / 5 (2) Mar 31, 2011
We have all these people who are hungry, need medicine, basic human needs, and you want to spend the money drilling a hole to the center of the earth? Ignoring that moment of reality...


I love comments like these.

Who are YOU to be spending your time surfing the internet? It's hell in a handbasket out there, man, and here you are enjoying yourself!
Quantum_Conundrum
1 / 5 (3) Apr 02, 2011
Once oil is finished we will have plenty of deep pcean 'holes' left on our planet. take one such thing and keep drilling further... how about that.


Actually, the U.S. currently has about 1.3 trillion barrels worth of known oil deposits which are currently not being drilled at all. Based on current consumption rates, this is enough to power the United States for about 170 to 180 years, and is about the same amount as the remainder of the world combined.

So... we should just keep burning everyone elses oil as long as they sell it to us, depleting them of resources,a nd then we (that is, our American descendants,) can use our own oil for dirt cheap for nearly two centuries. All of the American haters and Israel haters of the world can shove it, BTW.

170 to 180 years ought to be long enough for us to advance nuclear technologies and other alternatives beyond our modern comprehension or speculation: Computers, robots, nanotech, A.I, medicine; all will be maxed out by then.
ubavontuba
1 / 5 (1) Apr 02, 2011
Anybody remember the 60's movie "Crack in the World"? Fun bad-science romp. In it, scientists sent a rocket downwards(!!) into the Earth, resulting in a puncture... that started a tear. One thing leads to another, and by the end of the movie, a chunk of the Earth was blown off into a new moon. Heh. Never mind things like Gravity...
I remember seeing it on TV, as a kid. At the time, I didn't understand how dumb the premise was. But science fiction is often more art than science. Just look at Star Wars and its noise in space!
TheGhostofOtto1923
3 / 5 (6) Apr 02, 2011
Actually, the U.S. currently has about 1.3 trillion barrels worth of known oil deposits which are currently not being drilled at all.
"The U.S. Department of the Interior estimates the total volume of undiscovered, technically recoverable prospective resources in all areas of the United States, including the Federal Outer Continental Shelf, the 1002 area of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, the National Petroleum ReserveAlaska, and the Bakken Formation, total 134 billion barrels (21.3 109 m3) of crude oil." -WIKI

-You got a source for your info QC?
TheGhostofOtto1923
2.3 / 5 (6) Apr 02, 2011
I mean, besides your ass that is? You ever hit any oil down there?
Here, do a little research:
http://en.wikiped...d_States
Bog_Mire
5 / 5 (4) Apr 02, 2011
QC; an eminent expert in the field of his ass.
rah
1 / 5 (3) Apr 03, 2011
What if the oceans start falling into this hole and getting turned into steam from the heat of the Earth's core? The oceans could evaporate in less than 20 minutes according to my calculations...It would be cool to see the bottoms of the oceans exposed but all of the water from the oceans would be in these dark clouds getting ready to rain back down over the next two weeks according to my calculations. But gravity would pull most of the water down towards the southern hemisphere according to my calculations. Most of Australia would be covered as well as large parts of South America and Africa according tmc. It would shift the gravity geodisc frame reference atmc, and cause all of the satellites in orbit to fall into a straight line behind one another atmc.
Bog_Mire
5 / 5 (1) Apr 03, 2011
rah: according to my calculations you are an idiot.