Stories tagged drilling

New Object of the Month: A drill bit.
New Object of the Month: A drill bit.Courtesy Science Museum of Minnesota
Science Buzz's new Object of the Month is up, and it relates to the BP oil spill.

This huge drill bit (it weighs a couple hundred pounds!) was used for scientific purposes—it was made to retrieve solid chunks of rock to study—but it's similar to the bits that are used to drill into underwater oil reservoirs, like the one that's currently leaking into the Gulf of Mexico.

Take a look at the Object of the Month page to learn more about the BP oil spill, and how we drill miles-deep holes under thousands of feet of water.

Apr
24
2006


JOIDES Resolution: Courtesy Ocean Drilling Program

About 500 miles west of Costa Rica, scientists dug deep (and I mean DEEP) into the Earth’s crust. For the first time, layers of pristine igneous rock were retrieved. Their findings included a dark rock called gabbro. Gabbro is an igneous rock formed when molten magma is trapped underneath the Earth’s surface, cools and forms a crystalline mass.

JOIDES Resolution, the drill ship, bored nearly a mile into our planet’s oceanic crust recovering a complete stratified core of the overlaying crust in the Pacific Ocean. Studying gabbro along with crust sections will better inform scientists about the processes pertaining to crust formation and structure, plate tectonics, mountain formation as well as earthquake and volcano triggers.

Douglas Wilson, study co-author from the University of California, Santa Barbara, told LiveScience “This process covers 60 percent of the Earth’s surface, and it’s an ongoing process that has replaced all of the seafloor since 180 million years ago. In terms of understanding the planet, it’s a fundamental process."

Jun
08
2005

Or there will be, next year. Japanese researchers plan to drill a hole more than four miles through the Earth's rocky crust to reach the molten mantle below. This will be quite a feat — the deepest hole to date is less than a mile-and-a-half. And, just to make things interesting, they're going to do it from a boat floating a mile and a half above the sea floor. (That's where the Earth's crust is the thinnest.)

The project has several goals. They hope to learn more about undersea earthquakes, like the one that caused the Indian Ocean tsunami. They will also study the rocks and mud for records of climate change. And they will look for microbes and other signs of life in this extreme environment.