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Originally published in Creation 12, no 3 (June 1990): 22-23.
There is a remarkable story doing the rounds of Christian circles via tracts, preaching and radio broadcasts. It concerns the Soviet effort to drill the world’s deepest hole to study the earth’s crust.
The story’s origins are difficult to trace, and details vary slightly, but the essential features are:
There is no doubt that the hole referred to ‘in distant Siberia’ is the Kola Peninsula borehole in the Soviet Arctic, the world’s deepest. It is obvious what this story is trying to imply. Apart from the highly dubious notion that disembodied spirits (without lungs or vocal cords) emit ordinary sound waves transmitted through air, the story is without foundation for other sound reasons.
Similar mythologies crop up from time to time. They probably grow beyond recognition in the telling, and are passed on by well-meaning Christians who, like us, believe in the full truth of the Word of God concerning such matters as final judgment. However, the Bible neither teaches that the earth is flat, nor that it is stationary, nor indeed hollow. Neither does it teach that by drilling into it one may gain a peephole into Hell.
The Bible neither teaches that the earth is flat, nor that it is stationary, nor indeed hollow.A myth is usually based on a nucleus of truth. In this case, the ‘inferno’ idea may have come from the fact that geologists expected the one degree per 100 metres rate to continue far deeper, hence the temperature was indeed ‘hotter than expected’.
It is highly likely that the high temperature figures quoted in the ‘screams from the earth’ story were from a misunderstanding of the scientific reports. Similar temperatures were reported in the literature on the Kola drillhole—but they referred to the theoretical temperature at which the metamorphic rocks found in drill samples were presumed to have originally formed, not to the actual temperatures found.
The ‘spinning wildly’ story may have been based on the fact (of great interest to creation geologists pondering the early history of the earth, especially the nature of the ‘fountains of the great deep’ released at the Flood) that the water content of the crust was much greater than expected. There were some small flows of gas, and large amounts of hot, mineralized water encountered. Between 4,500 and 9,000 metres down, these unexpectedly high amounts of water at huge pressures had ‘shattered’ the host rocks, making them several times more porous than usual.
It is a pity that such stories can gain a foothold, but we hope our comments here will be helpful in assessing this tale of ‘screams from the earth’.