All the artificial holes in the world add up to the length of all the roads

Humans dig into the earth for many reasons, from drawing water to building a tunnel. The point is that no other animal reaches as deep as we do: some barely reach 2.5 meters deep, and the deepest plant roots reach less than 70 meters.

However, we have reached 12 kilometers, and if we added the length of all the holes we have drilled, and we joined it in a single hole, then it would measure 50 million kilometers deep, the equivalent of all the roads in the world or 7 meters for each person living today.

The deepest hole made by humans is on the Kola Peninsula. It was made for scientific purposes, so it’s only 23 centimeters in diameter, but a spectacular 12 kilometers deep.

Or imagine a mine that could comfortably fit the tallest building in the world, the Burj Dubai. Well, that mine exists, it’s in the United States, and it’s 1.2 km deep. Specifically, it is a copper mine in the Oquirrh Mountains, on the outskirts of Salt Lake City (Utah). It is 4 km wide.

Apart from these examples, there are many more, as David Farrier masterfully describes in his book Traces; Throughout the world, there are thousands of holes on every continent, except Antarctica, and they will remain as unscathed traces of our existence:

Some may bend and compress due to metamorphic processes, or gradually rise to the surface and turn into dust; yet others will remain there forever, columns threading their way toward the center of the earth, coated with residual oil and barium-laced mud. Closed mines will lead to vast underground voids where, in our lust for coal, we have mined entire strata.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *