What Occurs If You Throw a Stone Right into a Superdeep Gap in Antarctica?

published on July 2, 2020

people love to explore both our planet

and everything beyond it in fact if it

wasn't for our aspirations Science and

Technology would never have developed as

much as they have even evolution could

have taken a different path and who

knows maybe we would have never

discovered minerals if we didn't simply

love that hobby of ours digging I agree

it sounds quite unpoetic but it's true

digging that we've made so many

discoveries most often people dig into

the earth somewhere near civilization

but what if we plunged into the depths

of the Antarctic ice and not just drill

a big hole but also throw something down

it what for you asked for the sake of

science of course there are many bore

holes on our planet

they are drilled at different angles and

for different purposes the extraction of

gas oil or water the search for minerals

temperature measurements geotechnical

studies in addition to conventional bore

holes there are also super deep ones

surely you've heard about the Kola

super-deep borehole listed in the

Guinness Book of World Records as the

deepest man-made hole in the Earth's

crust at 12,000 261 metres for forty

thousand two hundred and twenty-six feet

deep it's serious

Bertha Rogers a slightly shallower

American borehole reaches a depth of

nine thousand five hundred and

eighty-three meters that's thirty one

thousand four hundred and forty-one feet

and the German KTB borehole has reached

nine thousand one hundred and one meters

that's 29 thousand eight hundred and

fifty nine feet most of the super deep

bore holes around the world were created

with the aim of searching for and

extracting minerals while at the same

time exploring the underground depths

unfortunately or fortunately while

drilling scientists weren't up for much

fun and certainly not any funny

experiments which is a pity how could

they even resist the temptation of

throwing a small stone into the deepest

hole in the world anyway we're gonna

leave the super deep bore holes in the

northern hemisphere alone and move to

the south far to the south where frost

and severe winds rain

welcome to Antarctica on average

Antarctica is considered the coldest and

windiest continent most of it is an icy

desert the Antarctic Ice Sheet covers

about 98% of the entire continent and is

the largest accumulation of ice on the

earth in fact it's a giant freezer

containing about 61% of all fresh water

on the planet scientists believe that

the glaciation of Antarctica began about

45 million five hundred thousand years

ago it's believed that the cause was the

emergence of the Drake Passage and as a

result a decrease in the amount of

carbon dioxide in the Earth's atmosphere

so how did scientists figure this out

among other things their studies of this

massive ice sheet helped there's even a

separate science called Glaciology that

deals with natural ice in all of its

varieties in the atmosphere hydrosphere

and lithosphere that is even ice in the

backyard theoretically could interest

glaciologists but expeditions to

Antarctica bring much more benefit to

them this is exactly what the

glaciologist from the USA Peter Neff did

in 2018 together with two other

scientists he did his best to study ice

in Western Antarctica to obtain suitable

samples they drilled a borehole 90

meters or 295 feet deep why so deep

samples of ice taken from such depths

provide data on the climate as it was

hundreds of thousands of years ago all

of this information is preserved in the

chemical composition of its water and

in air-bubbles we have sections of ice

as it is with the annual rings of trees

you can retrieve highly valuable

information about our planet's past but

Peter decided to take it a bit further

not just take the necessary samples but

also have some fun

he threw a piece of ice into the

borehole and filmed the entire process

sure you can't call his video very

dynamic but listen to that sound at

first the impact of ice on ice sounds

exactly as you might expect but then

wait was that bullet whizzing through

the air nope that wasn't the work of

Antarctic Cowboys behind the scenes the

Doppler effect is to blame the so-called

change in the frequency and wavelength

of radiation depending on the movement

of the source or observer in other words

the ice falling downward moves away from

the camera and the sound it makes while

bouncing off the walls gradually changes

to reach us it needs more and more time

a similar effect can be observed in

ordinary life for example when an

ambulance with its siren on passes by

when it hits the bottom of the borehole

the ice block still makes a sound

however sound waves don't move

vertically in a straight line as one

might imagine they also reflect off the

walls of the hole when they reach the

top you hear a sound similar to a

heartbeat the Doppler effect is also

responsible for this I think it's good

that Peter Neff is a professional

scientist but one could imagine that

somewhere there under the thickness of

the ice a huge monster is hiding who

apparently gets quite agitated when

someone drops something on him now if

you think about it 90 meters or 295 feet

isn't such a great depth especially when

compared with the boreholes that

I spoke about at the beginning of the

video so what if we go deeper

thanks to geochemist John Andrew Higgins

of Princeton environmental Institute we

can find out what would happen if we

repeated Neffs experience in a 137 meter

or 449 foot borehole just imagine you're

a serious scientist who's been in

Antarctica for multiple days it's

extremely cold and you're on a very

important job how could you resist the

temptation of throwing something into

such a deep bowl I certainly couldn't if

Neff managed to recreate the whistle of

a bullet then at an even greater depth

it must sound like

Lazer's but seriously it sounds as if

there's a squad of stormtroopers from

Star Wars

sitting at the bottom of the borehole

shooting at everything that moves

these bore holes are far from the only

ones created in Antarctica and certainly

not the deepest ones in 2019 a team of

scientists drilled the deepest borehole

in Western Antarctica it took them

almost three days to work through 2,000

152 metres that's 7,000 60 feet of ice

the team took sediment samples for

analysis and also measured how the ice

temperature and water pressure at these

depths changed but did anyone throw

anything into the hole I doubt it but

what if they did according to my

calculations a stone or piece of ice

would take about 21 seconds to reach the

bottom that is you'll have to wait a

long time and most likely some of the

noises you hear will still sound like a

shootout or a very piercing whistle in

this case a stone or piece of ice will

travel through the borehole at a speed

of approximately 745 kilometres or 463

miles an hour this by the way is

practically the speed of an airplane

after it hits the bottom another six

point two seven seconds will pass before

we hear it but the depth of this

borehole still isn't a world record

despite the harsh weather conditions

humans have stubbornly dug further into

the depths of the coldest continent on

earth have you heard of Lake Vostok

it's the largest sub Gration lake in

antarctica located at the South Pole in

the region of the Russian Antarctic

Vostok station scientists reached it for

the first time in 2012 by drilling to a

depth of 3768 metres that's 12,000 362

feet despite the immense

thickness of ice above it the water in

the lake turned out to be liquid and

quite warm by the standards of

Antarctica of course it was plus ten

degrees Celsius or fifty degrees

Fahrenheit the lake doesn't freeze due

to the high ice pressure and the heat of

the planet itself at the same time may

well heat it from underneath it's

assumed that this Antarctic pond was

hidden under the ice sheet 15 million

years ago and since then its inhabitants

have evolved on their own so what will

happen if we throw a piece of ice or a

stone into the borehole above Lake

Vostok will it be possible to hear a

quiet splash after a few seconds

unfortunately calculating this is quite

difficult when scientists reached the

surface of the lake

they let the water rise up into the hole

and freeze but not because they wanted

to do all of their work over again it's

this freshly frozen water that then goes

to scientific laboratories for analysis

in fact special fluids were constantly

used during drilling which prevented

freezing so if we tried dropping

something into Lake Vostok today we

would most likely find that the borehole

has simply frozen over unfortunately

there would be no way to reach it if you

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