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It took NASA’s Voyager 1 spacecraft twenty-six years to exit this solar system and probe the universe beyond. In that same amount of time, a dedicated research team dug twelve kilometers underneath the surface of the Earth. The Kola Superdeep Borehole might seem like the lesser achievement of the two, but the discoveries that it has yielded are no less spectacular.
The Kola Superdeep Borehall has entered the record book as the deepest artificial point on planet Earth and reached to depths of 12,262 meters. This is actually a lower level that the deepest levels of the ocean which is estimated to be around eleven kilometers in depth. Scientists examining the conditions at this level found that there is a huge amount of water in the Earth’s crust along with deposits of gas including helium, hydrogen, nitrogen and, unexpectedly, carbon dioxide.
Digging expedition into the Earth’s crust finds fossils of super-tough organisms
The discovery of carbon dioxide was a mystery to scientists in the initial stages of their investigation as its presence tends to suggest that living organisms are close by. It was preliminarily assumed that no organisms could survive the extreme conditions in the deeply granite of the Earth’s crust. However, further examination proved that this assumption was incorrect.
According to Bryan Nelson of the Mother Nature Network, the scientists detected microscopic plankton fossils in chunks of granite estimated to be approximately two billion years old at a depth of 6700 meters underneath the surface of the Earth. It was found that these microfossils came from twenty-four ancient species which were capable of surviving the hellish conditions close to the center of the Earth.
As the scientists ventured deeper into the Earth, they found that the temperatures rose to such a level that they were physically incapable of continuing to probe further. The temperature of the hole at 12 kilometers is an astonishing 180 degrees Celsius, which earned the Kola Superdeep Borehole the sobriquet the ‘Door to Hell’. Owing to the unbearable working conditions, the project was officially terminated in 2005.
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