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The Kola Superdeep Borehole: The World's Deepest Man Made Borehole

Updated on August 2, 2011
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  • Place: Kola Peninsula, Russia

  • Depth: 12,262 meters (40,230 ft) or about 7 mile

  • Russian: Кольская сверхглубокая скважина

  • Purpose:Scientific study

  • Penetrates about a third of the way through the Baltic continental crust (35 km or 22 mi)

  • Was the longest borehole until surpassed by the Al Shaheen oil well in Qatar. It is still the deepest borehole.


The Kola Peninsula Superdeep Borehole (KSDB) was part of a scientific study launched by the then Soviet Union in the Kola Peninsula across from Finland. The project attempted to drill as deep as possible into the Earth's crust.

It took the drillers nearly 25 years to drill the astounding 40,000+ ft borehole. They were only ceased drilling when temperatures soared to an unbearable, unsafe 180°C (356 °F).


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    • profile image

      Dimitri Kozlov 5 years ago

      They're Russians. The primary reason why they drilled this gigantic hole was just to see what was gonna happen. That's all.

    • Larry Fields profile image

      Larry Fields 5 years ago from Northern California

      At least one of the variations on the abiotic theme says that we're more likely to find oil when we drill deeply into an area with big cracks in the crust. The drilling experiment in the Siljan impact ring in central Sweden has been described as a scientific success, since they did find some oil in a place where conventional theories did not expect it to be. But it was a commercial failure, because so little oil was there.

    • againsttheodds profile image

      againsttheodds 5 years ago

      Great article. I am starting to more and more believe in the abiotic theory of oil as outlined here:

      My main question would be that if the theory is true then why did the Kola Borehole not produce oil? Or am I missing something?

    • Richard Fernandez profile image

      Richard Fernandez 6 years ago from Detroit, MI

      Supposedly a number of studies were conducted on the borehole. Some studies done on the composition of the Baltic Shield as it increased with depth and lithospheric geophysics. As far as findings go it was discovered that Harold Jeffrey's hypothesis that the seismic velocities in the Earth's crust transferred from granite to basalt was disproved. The researchers instead found a layer of heavily fractured metamorphic rock saturated with water. They water was believed to come from deep earth minerals and was unable to reach the surface to do a thick layer of impermeable rock.

    • Larry Fields profile image

      Larry Fields 6 years ago from Northern California

      Voted up. So this was a scientific study. OK, I'll bite. What did the researchers hope to learn from it? Were they simply trying to get a temperature vs. depth curve? Or was there more to it than that?

      Was an experimental hypothesis falsified. Were the results consistent with some other hypothesis?