Seeing “the Journey to the Center of the Earth” you are left mind boggled and confused because well, the movie is based on fantasy and hello it is indeed bullcrap. There are only a certain places on Earth that are deep to only an extent that allows a human or human machinery to reach and sustain safely. Deeper than that, the magma is bound to kill you. We have all been excited to touch the skies, to reach the highest points on Earth but do you have any idea about the deepest places? There are miles of layers between the ground we walk on and the solid core of the Earth. So how close can you get to that core?
10) Woodingdean Well
Let’s commence with a geographic entity that was man-made and is a piece of outstanding architecture. 850 feet below sea level, the Woodingdean Well is the world’s deepest hand-dug well. It was started in 1858 by Brighton’s Guardians and took almost 4 years to complete. It was initially done as a cost-cutting exercise and was meant to be just 400 feet deep, to find the end of water table. It all went in vain as after 458 feet in two years, no water was found while men risked their lives by the way of construction of the well, which was men hanging on rickety ladders, sweating in the intense heat of the hole and at least one man lost his life during the project. The hole is still there, deep into the earth, but has been covered over at the surface level now.
9) Tagebau Hambach
The Tagebau Hambach mine is an open lignite mine in Elsdorf, Germany and it is the deepest open mine in the world at 961 feet below sea level. The entire mine is actually 1213 feet deep and contains the biggest excavator in the world. Begun in 1978, the mine’s operation area currently is 39 km², with the total area designated for mining having a size of 85 km². It removes around 24,000 tonnes of lignite every day and even has its own tourist attraction – Sophienhöhe, an artificial wooden hill from which visitors can see the mine and the cherry on cake? The hill is also a record holder in its own way, being the biggest artificial hill in the world – at 990 feet above sea level, it’s as high as the mine is deep. That’s called balancing the difference guys!
8) El Zacatón
Coming onto the deepest sites that are naturally present, we come onto the El Zacaton, the world’s deepest sinkhole. We will ease up your curiosity about sinkholes as they are an unusual natural phenomenon, as they just appear in the Earth suddenly causing serious devastation if the area is by chance populated. But Zacatón in Mexico has been around since the Pleistocene, and is a beautiful natural feature, filled with water, and has no history of claiming lives. It is very deep, as it goes down to 1112 feet below sea level, which was measured by an automated robot, as humans could only go as deep as 925 feet in 1994. This endeavor claimed the life of one of the two divers as Sheck Exley died from high-pressure nervous syndrome at around 900 feet, showing that depths like this can be dangerous, even for highly experienced cave divers, ceasing the efforts or even thoughts of other people to reach the bottom. Looks can be deceptive.
7) Lake Baikal
Lake Baikal in Russia is a natural beauty and is the deepest lake in the world, reaching down to 5,387 feet, again a new geographic entity in this list, making a leap of a good 4000 feet since the last entry. Many people have tried to explore it, especially the Russian Academy of Sciences who sent small submersible craft down there in 2008 and they reached a depth of 5,180 feet, failing to break the world record for deepest freshwater dive which is 5371 feet reached by Anatoly Sagalevich in the very lake. Not only a beacon for thought for the scientists, this lake also attracts hordes of tourists as it is well known as the “Pearl of Siberia” – bring tourists flocking to its shores.
6) Krubera Voronya Cave
Keeping in line with the different landscapes of the earth in every entry, we come to caves (claustrophobic already, my loves?). Nestled in Georgia is the deepest cave in the world, Voronya cave, reaching down till 7,208 feet. It got its name after the Russian geographer Alexander Kruber, and is also known by another name, “Voronya Cave” which means “Cave of Crows” – after, of course, the crows that gathered there. It is a source of curiosity for many as teams from the Ukraine, Britain, France and Spain, attempting to establish just how deep it is, visit it every year since 2000. Expeditions still aren’t very concrete, as this winder might be much deeper than we even suspect. It’s certainly the only cave on Earth deeper than 7,208 feet and mapping it is a daunting and very long-term task (or fatal, you know, darkness, depths, AIR PRESSURE!!!)
5) Kidd Mine
Breaking the trend of the list, we come onto another mine, the deepest on Earth indeed. This mine, which goes deepest below sea level, is Kidd Mine in Ontario, Canada which reaches 8,967 feet below sea level. Owned by Glencore Inc., and operated by Kidd Operations, a Glencore subsidiary, the mine was formerly owned by Xstrata Copper, Falconbridge Ltd., and Texas Gulf Sulphur. The total depth is around 10,000 feet as it is very far north on the Earth. After opening in 1964 as an open-pit mine, it has gradually expanded underground. It is now the biggest copper mines in the world, employing 2,200 workers and producing millions of tonnes of ore every year for Quebec, where this ore is processed. It is due to close in late 2017 after receiving extra funding in 2008 to carry on work until then, but even after closing, it will not stop being the deepest mine on Earth, will it?
4) Litke Deep
As you all must be wondering as to where the heck are the trenches in this list, as the deepest places on the Earth tend to be under the ocean. So here’s the deepest trench in the Arctic – the Litke Deep in the Eurasian Basin. At 350 km north of the “Arctic wilderness” of Svalbard, it’s at one of the extremes of the Earth, so as well as being very deep, it’s also very cold, in contrast with the misconception that as we go deeper the Earth turns hotter. It is probably one of the most inhospitable places in the world and was named after the ice-breaking ship that discovered it in 1955 – the Fyodor Litke, after the Russian explorer and ice-breaker “Fyodor Litke”. The deepest part is at 17,881 feet under sea level. IMAGINE.
3) Milwaukee Deep
The Atlantic Ocean has several deep trenches like the Romanche Trench at 25,459 feet and the South Sandwich trench at 27,650, but the deepest among them all is the Milwaukee Deep at a tremendous 28,680 feet depth. It is 76 miles north of Puerto Rico and was named after USS Milwaukee, a U.S. Navy Omaha class cruiser, which discovered the deep on February 14th 1939 and recorded the reading of 28,860 feet. It is a cause of unease for many meteorological scientists as it’s near a fault zone, which raises suspicions that it might cause an earthquake very soon, which in turn would generate a tsunami. So we can easily say that the depth of the destruction of this trench is pretty scary.
2) Mariana Trench
The top five deepest trenches are contained in the vast abyss that the Pacific Ocean is, namely, the Tonga Trench, the Philippine Trench, the Kuril- Kamchatka Trench and the Kermadec Trench, are all over 30,000 feet deep but the deepest of them all is the Mariana Trench, at a heart stopping depth of 35,994 feet. Being the deepest natural geological formation on Earth, it has been a central point of many scientists’ research, one of the most famous encounters being the feud between entrepreneur Richard Branson and film director James Cameron as to who could reach the bottom first. Cameron won, making his trip a very successful one as he descended in his “torpedo sub” in 2 hours 36 minutes before spending a few hours taking samples from the trench floor. This trench is home to several unusual creatures, seeing its unique environmental constitution due to the extreme depth and temperatures. These include a foot-long amphipods and sea cucumbers that camouflage themselves against the sandy bottom. And we are definitely praying for more exploration as who knows what must be lurking around in the depths of the ocean.
1) Kola Superdeep Borehole
You will be shocked to know that deepest place on Earth is a man-made borehole. Yes! Ironically unexplored by humans (who made them, duh), it lies at 40,230 feet underground. It was initially aimed to be at 49,000 feet underground but due to extremely high temperatures at the depth of just 40,000 feet, equivalent to 356F, meant that if they’d got to 49,000 feet it would have gone up to 572F, which would be a difficult temperature for the drill to work out, if we keep a case that it actually didn’t melt. The deepest, SG-3, reached 12,262 metres (40,230 ft) in 1989 and still is the deepest artificial point on Earth. The borehole is 9 inches (23 cm) in diameter and the fact that it is a good 5000 feet deeper than the last entry, it is the glorious worthy candidate for the position of number 1.
Thus, we saw places, both man-made and naturally present, in the list that we read. And the fact more than one entries from the same oceanic coordinates were not used, despite of their depths being more than some of the entries, should be kept in mind as we wanted to enlighten you about every trough, every cervix, or every edge or blow of the vast mystery that the underground Earth is. Remember, you might give in to curiosity, but some of the areas can’t ever be touched by humans (or right now technology and science are tutting me with sad eyes as they sit hand in hand waiting for the mad scientist to find his way, anyway.)