a well at the Tarim Oil Field in China’s Xinjiang region. China is starting a voyage into the untamed world.
According to a Xinhua news source, the country began drilling its first borehole on May 30 in order to tunnel 10,000 meters (32,808 feet) beneath the Earth’s crust.
The Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region in northwest China’s Taklamakan Desert, which is resource-rich, is where the borehole is situated.
According to Xinhua, the project will use machinery weighing 2,000 metric tons to cut through 10 layers of continental strata. The Cretaceous System, a stratified rock formation that dates back 145 million years, will eventually be reached by the borehole. The project will take around 457 days to complete.
The drilling of China’s first borehole over 10,000 meters deep for scientific exploration began on Tuesday in NW China’s Tarim Basin, a great feat in China’s deep-Earth exploration. The project is expected to be completed in 457 days. pic.twitter.com/Qs7Sn9cZus
— People’s Daily, China (@PDChina) May 30, 2023
According to project specialists quoted in the Global Times (link in Chinese), “The drilling of this 10,000 meter borehole is a bold attempt to explore the unknown parts of the Earth and expand the boundaries of human knowledge.”
With a depth of 12,262 meters (40,230 ft), the Kola Superdeep Borehole in northwest Russia presently holds the title of deepest hole ever discovered on Earth.
China’s National Security Strategy includes “Deep Digging.”
Minerals and oil, both of which are plentiful where the new borehole is situated in Xinjiang, are among the copious natural resources that China is in desperate need of. Wang Guanghua, China’s minister of natural resources, emphasized the value of obtaining energy and raw materials domestically in January in order to reduce reliance on imports.
In an interview (pdf) with People’s Daily, he declared, “Once the international situation changes, it will unavoidably affect my country’s economic security and even national security.”
Deep-Earth drilling could help China better understand seismic activity and natural disaster concerns in addition to its potential to discover natural riches.
Exploration of the deep Earth is merely one of China’s major priorities. In an address to the nation’s scientific community in 2021, President Xi Jinping outlined four areas on which to concentrate their efforts: deep Earth, deep sea, deep blue (denoting information technology), and deep space.