A drilling project has faced various problems whilst they have been drilling into New Zealand’s Alpine Fault, to investigate why it cause’s earthquakes, the project that was planned to drill 1.3 kilometres has been cancelled after almost reaching their goal of 400 meters.
Working around the clock scientists and engineers estimated their project would be completed by Christmas, and place equipment to monitor the temperature of the earthquake and perhaps time it, but the fault was around 1000m deep in November, and the project has been called off.
The first incident took place when a 7.4 tonne bottom hole assembly, fell from the drill and landed in a borehole, in early December the team of engineers drilled at nearly 3m an hour and were closing in on the fault.
Almost 1 Kilometre Below The Earth
After drilling up to 893m the team prepared the hole for coring to inspect what was surrounding the fault. That is when the third problem hit, when a 25 tonne steel tube accompanied by 40 tonnes of cement overall 65 tonnes dropped into the borehole.
Just before Christmas the team of scientists and engineers called the project to an end, they are no longer going to attempt to drill the same hole but are going to plan to take another shot a a later date.
The Alpine Fault has a magnitude that increases by 8.0 every 200 to 400 years, the scientists planned to find out why it behaved like this.