Culture, Religion, and the Superdeep Borehole
The Kola Superdeep Borehole was planned in the 1960s and drilled during the ’70s and ’80s. In 1989, the world’s deepest artificial point was achieved, 12,262 metres below the surface. Scientists were considering tactics to fight hotter than expected temperatures. They were preparing to switch to titanium alloy pipes to withstand the ascending heat when their project was shut down.
The rig was idle for a number of years while tests were conducted. By 1992, the Soviet Union was collapsing and the ruling autocracy was momentarily powerless. Funding was cut. Various seismic and petrophysics tests continued, but in 2006 the project was shut down completely. The world’s most important well was sealed. By 2008, even the nightwatchman had left. Today the place is abandoned and decaying.
The Kola well continues to influence our understanding of the deep crust. In a similar way, a deep borehole into the mantle might contribute startling changes to our perception and understanding of the Earth’s interior.
Meanwhile, Kola has inadvertently encouraged some odd religious misconceptions about what lies below us. There are still millions of people in the world who believe that there is a real, solid, literal Hell inside the Earth. Some of these people were elated when they learned – from a fundamentalist group – that the well had to be sealed because the Russians had reached Hell.
They claim that the well hit a hollow cavity and extremely hot temperatures. Scientists lowered a microphone down the borehole and heard the agonized screams of millions of burning souls. Many of the scientists immediately repented and joined the fundamentalist movement. Others fled the site and went insane, as would be expected of scientists who refuse to repent even after hearing the screams of damned souls.
There are plenty of people who are convinced that Satan, not Gorbachev, was the reason the drilling stopped. The story was allegedly first printed in 1990 by the Finnish newspaper Ammennusastia, which was published by a group of Pentecostal Christians from Leväsjoki, Finland.
Extras from – Drilling into Hell . . . enjoy your visit!