Science

Is it possible to travel through the center of the Earth?

Who in childhood did not think that if you start digging, you can jump out on the other side of the Earth? The map of the antipodes (points on the sphere located at the maximum distance) shows where such imaginary tunnels actually end. Oceans cover 70% of the earth’s surface, so the chance that your tunnel through the center of the globe will not end at the bottom is quite small.

From Moscow, for example, the tunnel leads to the South Atlantic, and the exit will be quite far from the shores of Antarctica — the nearest continent. From the territory of Russia, it makes sense to dig only in the Ulan-Ude area — such a tunnel leads to the very south of Chile, and from Taimyr — then the journey will end in Antarctica. An interactive map of the antipodes will help you accurately calculate the points of departure and arrival.

Of course, such trips are possible only in the imagination. Until the 2010s, the record for the depth of immersion underground belonged to Soviet geologists who drilled (solely out of scientific interest) the Kola ultra-deep well with a depth of 12,262 meters; in the XXI century, the record was broken by oilmen from different countries who drilled three wells deeper than the Kola. None of them reached the psychological mark of 13 km depth.

If you still imagine that a tunnel passing through the center of the earth is drilled, its walls are reinforced, withstand the pressure of magma and do not melt in it, then you can fantasize about the fate of a person who jumped down. It is unenviable: already at a depth of 48 kilometers, the pressure of the atmosphere will equal the pressure at the bottom of the ocean, with corresponding consequences. In addition, the daredevil will definitely be pressed against the wall of the tunnel by centrifugal force.

If we ignore these arguments, we can calculate that the flight from one end of the planet to the other will take 38 minutes. When the traveler reaches the opposite edge, he will begin to fall down — that is, in the direction that was just called “up”; and so the body of the poor traveler will fall back and forth several times until it is finally attracted to the center of the Earth.


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