These are the deepest and largest man-made holes in the world

Employees work at a gas drilling rig at the Bovanenkovo gas field on the Yamal peninsula in the Arctic circle on May 21, 2019. (

  • Since the early 1960s, humans have attempted to drill
    down to the Earth’s mantle.
  • Russia holds the record for the deepest man-made hole
    in the world at more than 40,000 feet deep. That’s 7.6
  • No one has ever reached the Earth’s mantle, although
    scientists have never given up trying to get to it.
  • Some of the other deepest man-made holes are from oil
    companies, while some of the largest holes have been dug to extract
    copper and diamonds.
  • Visit
    Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

America might have landed on the moon, but Russia drilled the
deepest man-made hole on Earth.

Since the early 1960s, scientists have attempted to drill down
to the Earth’s mantle. 

It took 20 years, but Russia drilled down 40,230 feet into the
earth, before heat forced work to stop. Despite reaching such a
depth, Russia never got to the mantle. But nearby residents have
said they can hear
souls screaming in hell
 coming from it.

After that, Germany and Japan entered the race. But, still, no
one’s managed to drill to the mantle.

Outside of science, oil companies have drilled deep and narrow
to extract oil, and mining companies have dug large and wide to
extract copper and diamonds.

These are the deepest and largest man-made holes in the

SEE ALSO: Stunning
photos show what it’s really like to work deep underground in an
American coal mine

DON’T MISS: Inside
the controversial 70-year journey to build Crazy Horse, the world’s
largest monument that still isn’t finished

Humans first began digging toward the Earth’s mantle in the 1960s,
when American scientists conceived of the project known as “Project
Mohole,” named after Andrija Mohorovicic, who discovered the
boundary between the earth’s crust and mantle.


Like the race to the moon, it was a showdown between the US and
Russia to see who could get to the mantle. Because, as University
of Southampton’s Damon Teagle told CNN in 2012, even though the
mantle makes up nearly 70% of the Earth, scientists only have a
“reasonable” understanding of what it’s made from, and how it


Only in the al-Hajar mountains in Oman is there an exposed section
of the Earth’s mantle. But it’s not a living sample — it was last
inside the Earth millions of years ago.


Project Mohole’s drilling was done on a boat in the ocean rather
than on land, because the crust is thinner on the ocean floor,
although where it’s thinner is also typically where the ocean is
deepest. The researchers drilled near the island of Guadalupe off
the west coast of Mexico.


The US hole went 600 feet below the sea floor before it was deemed
too expensive, and Congress cut funding. They did manage to bring
up several feet of basalt, which in essence cost about $40 million
in today’s dollars, since that was all there was to show from the


LIFE magazine sent Nobel Prize winning novelist John Steinbeck to
cover the expedition. He said he was aboard because he had a “long
time interest in oceanography,” and he was experienced “in matters
of the sea.” At the end, he admitted to stealing a piece of the
expensive bastal, but when the “damned chief scientist” secretly
gave him a piece, he was forced to return the stolen hunk.


In 1970, Russia entered the race. And unlike the Moon landing,
Russia achieved more than the US. Over the next 20 years,
scientists drilled down 40,230 feet into the Earth. The hole, known
as the “Kola superdeep borehole,” is only nine inches in diameter.

, Atlas

Drilling stopped in 1992 when temperatures became too hot, reaching
356 degrees Fahrenheit. Benjamin Andrews, a geologist and curator
at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History, said as
heat rises, the liquid content rises too, and digging becomes
harder. “It’s like trying to keep a pit in the center of a pot of
hot soup,” he said.


The hole is now covered by a metal lid, and still holds the record
for the deepest man-made hole in the world. Locals have said they
can hear souls screaming in hell coming from it.


In 1990, German scientists began to drill down in Bavaria, in
what’s called the German Continental Deep Drilling Program. The
program managed to get just under 30,000 feet deep, and they
encountered temperatures as hot as 509 degrees Fahrenheit.

Journal of Geophysical Research

In 2013, Lotte Geeven, a Dutch artist, lowered a microphone down
the hole to record what she called “The Sound of the Earth.”
Scientists couldn’t explain the rumbling that was recorded. She
said some people compared the recording to hell, while others
thought it sounded like the Earth breathing.

The Verge
, Lotte

Japan entered the fray in 2002 when it launched Chikyu, an offshore
drilling ship. The ship can carry 6 miles of drilling pipes, and
also harnesses GPS and jets that allow it to change its position to
allow precise drilling. The ship is also funded by Europe, China,
Korea, India, Australia, and New Zealand. One of its main missions
was to drill deep enough into the mantle to learn more about how
earthquakes work.


But in 2019, after drilling about 2 miles feet beneath the sea
floor, Chikyu abandoned its attempt to reach the point where
tectonic plates met. Someone who worked on the expedition described
it to the science journal Nature as “a continuous six-month

Source: Nature

In 2015, scientists attempted to reach the mantle on a drill ship
called JOIDES resolution, which has been used in digging missions
since 1985. The goal was to dig 4,000 feet through the Indian Ocean
floor, to reach the mantle. But it wasn’t successful.

Tech Times

In 2018, in Cornwall, in the United Kingdom, Geothermal Engineering
Limited began to dig two holes, aiming to use the heat from hot
rocks as a source of electricity. The company told Business Insider
in 2019 that the hole had gone over 16,000 feet into the Earth, and
had encountered temperatures up to 195 degrees Fahrenheit.

The Guardian

In 2019, scientists dug the deepest hole in Western Antarctica,
going 7,060 feet into the ice. Unlike the other drills, this one
was dug with a high-pressure hose that fired hot water at a
temperature of 194 degrees Fahrenheit. Once the hole in the ice was
made, scientists had to move quick, because it refroze after a few

Business Insider

But it wasn’t the deepest hole in all of Antarctica. In 2012, in
Eastern Antarctica, Russian researchers dug a hole 8,000 feet deep.
And the South Pole the IceCube Neutrino Observatory dug a hole
going down 7,300 feet.

Business Insider

Holes have also been drilled into the earth for natural resources.
BP’s Deepwater Horizon, now known for the disaster that polluted
the Gulf of Mexico in 2010, was for a time the deepest offshore rig
in the world. The rig drilled down 35,055 feet to access a pool of
crude oil that held up to 6 billion barrels of oil.

Sources: Beacon,

Daily Herald

In 2011, Exxon Mobile in eastern Russia took the title for the
longest man-made hole in the world. Its borehole goes 42,000 feet
into the earth, but it doesn’t go straight down, so it’s not the
deepest. It’s known as “Z-44 Chayvo,” and is expected to access 2.3
billion barrels of oil.

, Business

Other than drilling for science, or oil, miners have also made some
massive holes. One of the largest man-made holes in the world is
Kimberley Diamond Mine, in South Africa, also known as “big hole.”
Its circumference is nearly 1 mile, and it’s about 42 acres total.

Sources: The City of

In eastern Siberia, the Mirny diamond mine, the second largest hole
in the world, was constructed under orders from former Russian
leader Joseph Stalin, to produce diamonds for the Soviet Union. It
goes 1,722 feet into the ground, and has a diameter of 4,100 feet.


In Chile, the Chuquicamata opencast mine is the largest man-made
hole in the world in terms of how much earth was dug out — about
300 billion cubic feet.

Science Focus

And in Utah, Bingham Canyon is the largest man-made excavation in
the world. It’s about 4,000 feet deep, and stretches almost 3 miles


Source: FS – All-Travel destinations-News
These are the deepest and largest man-made holes in the world