The Earth is composed of many layers. The crust in which we stand now, for example, is a thick layer of different soils, minerals, and aggregates. Some industries, like mining and construction, need to drill through the Earth’s topmost layer to establish buildings and to mine important metals.
Soil and formations
Soil has different kinds and characteristics depending on the area or location. A substrate that supports life, it can be a mixture of organic matter, minerals, gases, liquids, and organism. Due to the movement of the earth different periods in time through a natural disaster like an earthquake, the soil has developed different layers.
These layers can be composed of ordinary dirt, clay, sand, or rock. They can be loose or compacted soil, which can be difficult to penetrate with ordinary tools, like a pickaxe or shovel. The levels of the earth can be of varying angles or degrees, and this is called topography. Topography creates the natural physical features of the earth that we are familiar with — the mountains, plateaus, and valleys.
Analysis of earth
Topography and soil type are some of the factors that need to be taken into consideration when building structures or mining. Geotechnical investigation is needed to obtain information on the physical properties of soil earthworks and foundations. Geotechnical engineers or engineering geologists mostly perform this, but they can hire also hire drilling contractors to perform deep geotechnical investigation for bigger projects.
A site investigation is needed before considering building on the site. Also, a geotechnical investigation is used to measure thermal resistivity of soils for backfill materials that are required for underground transmission lines, oil and gas pipelines, radioactive waste disposal, and solar thermal storage facilities. An investigation is also used to check if there is soil contamination prior to development to avoid negative environmental impacts.
The investigation determines if the soil’s condition is good for construction. Data from the investigation can also tell if engineers need a specialized type of foundation work for the earth to support a structure. Calculations and measurements are primarily done to see if a building can be stable in the site. Once the site has been properly assessed by engineers and geologist, then it can be prepared for construction or mining. Drilling is one of the important aspects that relate to working the earth and it has different applications in different industries. But commonly, drilling is used in construction and mining.
Drilling in construction of houses or buildings use augers, which are like large drill bits that dig through the soil to create space for foundation work. But, drilling can also be used for directional boring or horizontal directional drilling. This is used in the installation of pipelines and conduits through existing structures like roads or buildings.
Directional boring or horizontal directional boring is a way to place utilities without disturbing the existing ground or obstacles that are in between the two points of installation. Drilling is also used for the extraction of oil and natural gas through various kinds of oil well. Drilling for these energy resources includes boring in an angle directly through reservoir for access, then additional methods and structures are put in place to process the oil or natural gas.
Boring a hole through the earth is not only used to extract natural resources and to place pipes for utilities. Professionals also use drilling to test and assess the soil if it is fit for construction. There are many uses for drilling and all of it for the benefit of mankind.