New drilling depth record set off Japan's coast
The Japanese scientific research ship CHIKYU, which houses the world's biggest deep-sea drill, is seen moored at Yokohamam Japan in this Dec. 15, 2005 file photo. (AP Photo/Katsumi Kasahara)
Published Saturday, April 28, 2012 9:54AM EDT
TOKYO - A Japanese research institute says its deep-sea drilling probe has set a new world record for depth, reaching 7,740 metres below the sea surface.
The Chikyu, operated by the Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology, was digging the seabed off Japan's northern coast to take fault samples and study last year's devastating earthquake and tsunami.
The agency said Friday that the probe's drilling pipe hit the fault zone at 6,883.5 metres undersea before reaching the target of 7,740 metres Wednesday. That's nearly 8 kilometres deep.
Maritime organizations say the U.S. vessel Glomar Challenger set the previous record of 7,049.5 metres below sea surface in the Mariana Trench in 1978.