Record at sea: Amazing Chikyu drillship dug 7.7km well

Inspenet, March 24, 2023

Chikyu is the largest capacity scientific drilling vessel, according to the organization in charge of operating it, the Japanese agency JAMSTEC , which presents it as the “flagship” of the International Ocean Discovery Program (IODP).

Thanks to this capacity, throughout his career he has achieved several records and in April 2012 he managed to extend his drilling column 7,740 meters underwater. The wells drilled in the ocean allow us to understand how earthquakes are generated, the history of the earth or the origin of life.

“The measurement set the world record for the total length of the scientific drillpipe,” notes JAMSTEC. The brand was once a milestone that was reached off the Oshika peninsula, in Miyagi, in northern Japan.

Chikyu and those responsible did not face the challenge to enter the Guinness Book, but to make it easier for scientists to better understand how the fateful earthquake —and tsunami— occurred that in 2011 left thousands of victims in the region. Achieving such depth required drilling a well 856.5 meters below the seabed at a point at a depth of 6,883.5 m. All with the purpose of reaching the fault zone to the west of the axis of the Japan Trench.

“Completed in July 2005, the Chikyu deep-water drilling ship has the most advanced drilling capabilities in the world,” highlights the Japanese organization, which insists that, thanks to this capacity, of 7,000 meters, the ship allows to penetrate at points in the mantle and the seismogenic zone.

“As the lead ship of IODP, Chikyu’s goal is to facilitate a wide range of activities that, once completed, will help the future of humanity,” JAMSTC notes. “These activities may include revealing the mechanism for developing a major earthquake, the origins of life, future global environmental changes, and new deep-sea resources”.

“On board it has 10 kilometers of drill pipe. That means it is possible to drill from the ship up to 10,000 meters deep. For this you need a riser pipe, so the water depth can be 2,500 maximum to withstand the great weight of the ascending system above. 10 kilometers minus 2.5 km gives us 7.5 km, which is the length of the greatest possible drilling depth under the seabed,” details the JAMSTEC organization.

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Photos : Satoshi KAYA (Unsplash)

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