Project Mohole got underway in 1961, with undersea drilling off the
Pacific coast of Mexico. The idea was to get geological core
samples from a bore hole, to learn about the nature of
Discontinuity (the boundary between the earth’s crust and mantle).
The Project ended in 1966.
In 1971, our eight-grade science class was shown a film about Project
distinctly recall that the film talked about how promising the project
was, and how much we would learn from it.
Now, I seek, and find,
the truth, or at least one version of the truth.
“The project became known as the Mohole and
pretty well disastrous. The hope was to lower a drill through 14,400
feet (4.5 km) of Pacific Ocean water off through relatively thin
crustal rock. Drilling from a ship in open waters is, in the words of
one oceanographer, “like trying to drill a hole in the sidewalks of New
York from top the Empire state Building using a strand of spagetti.”
Every attempt ended in failure. The deepest they penetrated was only
about 600 feet (200 m). The Mohole became known as No Hole. In 1966,
exasperated with ever-rising costs and no results, Congress killed the
Our science teacher never bothered to tell us that the “promising”
project was already a failure by the time we saw the film. He
have used it to teach any number of reasonably good lessons, but did
I can’t blame the science teacher if the school did not have the budget
to keep an up-to-date film library. However, I can’t help but
think of the ways he could have used this film to get students thinking
about science, or to get them interested in science. Instead,
it was just “a bore.”
It is left as an exercise for the reader to figure out how this film
could have been used in an eight-grade science class, even though it