The earth’s crust – the surface upon which we’re all standing (or floating at sea as the case may be) – is relatively thin in the scheme of things: about 21 miles thick. And yet we haven’t even eclipsed the 8 mile mark in terms of the caves (natural formations) we’ve explored or the holes (artificial formations) we’ve dug. This animation from TechInsider puts things in perspective:
Business Insider have a transcript of the text overlay – I’ve inserted external reading links where applicable for additional context:
If we were to journey to the center of the Earth, it would take a lot longer than you might expect. Here’s how deep humans have dug underground.
The typical grave is 6 feet down. Most Olympic swimming pools are 10 feet deep. Nile crocodiles dig burrows as deep as 39 feet deep. The Paris Catacombs are 65 feet underground.
If the Eiffel Tower were buried up to the tip the base would reach down to here. The Woodingdean Well is 1,285 feet deep. It’s the deepest hole that humans have dug by hand.
33 Chilean miners were trapped in a mine for about 2 months in 2010. The Burj Khalifa would go 2,722 feet below the surface. The deepest known point in a cave is in Krubera Cave in Georgia. Switzerland’s Gotthard Base Tunnel is the deepest railway tunnel. Mponeng in South Africa is the world’s deepest gold mine.
The Kola Superdeep Borehole is only 9 inches wide. Russian scientists have been drilling it since 1970. It’s now deeper than the deepest part of the ocean. The bottom is 356˚F, which is too hot for drills to go any further. In 2012, Exxon completed the Z-44 Chayvo Well. This oil well is the deepest humans have dug
It would take another 60,000 feet to reach the end of the crust and another 21 million feet to the center of the Earth. Better get digging!