A Japanese ship has boldly drilled where no ship had drilled before: more than 6,926 feet below the seafloor. This trumps of the previous world record by a little less than three feet, says OurAmazingPlanet.
The ship, called the Chikyu, is located off Shimokita Peninsula of Japan in the northwestern Pacific Ocean. The goal is to collect rock samples from deeply buried ocean coal beds. This will provide new clues about microbes that live far underground and their possible role in the production of natural gas, or methane, previously found at this level.
The Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology explains the purpose of the expedition:
Understanding the system of carbon cycling, including methane hydrates and natural gas, below the continental coastal sea floor is not only directly linked to issues of Japan’s energy resources but is also an important scientific area for understanding past global environmental warming events, ecosystem changes, and for building a future sustainable low-carbon society.
The expedition will continue through the end of September with plans to drill as far as 7,217 feet below the ocean floor.
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