November 13, 2013
Tunnel Through The Earth From Your Living Room
Why did the Internet user tunnel through the earth? To get to the other side, of course. A Google Maps-based site allows us to find out where we would end up if we tunneled right through the Earth from any location we choose. We get to discover where we really would have landed if our imagination when we were kids digging holes had become a reality.
Any two opposing points on the Earth are referred to as antipodes, which is why people from Australia and New Zealand used to be referred to as ‘antipodeans’ by people from the northern hemisphere, although that practice is dying out now that the human race is becoming less concerned with the nineteenth century habit of viewing the world as counterpoints to their own country and culture, and realizing that they are also antipodeans, to someone.
The site allows us to find out who we are antipodeans to; which people we would meet if we tunneled through the earth (or sailed around it to the other side, but there’s no need for such exertion now we have the internet).
Anglocentric though they may have been in their terminology, the British who stumbled across Australia and New Zealand in the 18th century were pretty accurate to refer to the location as the antipodes. The site shows that a tunnel from the UK through the earth would emerge just east of New Zealand’s South Island. Residents of North America would find their exciting journey had a bit of a watery end, though, because just about everywhere in the US has a point in the Indian Ocean as its antipode, and moving north into Canada and Alaska adventurers would find themselves in the icy waters near Antarctica.
South Koreans would land on the beaches of Argentina, not a bad deal for them, while history fans could start the day at Machu Picchu in Peru and travel through to Angkor Wat in Cambodia by late afternoon.
One thing that this tool brings home to you is just how massive the oceans are. All of Europe and Africa, from Scandinavia to Cape Town, would see you land in the huge expansive of water that comprises the Pacific Ocean and the Southern Ocean. The same applies to the whole of the Middle East, Southern Russia, and much of Asia all the way to Korea who finally get to dock in South America.
Here is some stuff to consider before tunneling (other than ‘take a snorkel’). 30 miles in, less than 1% of the way, you would hit magma. Even if that could somehow be sucked out, at the same distance in the air pressure would be about the same as at the bottom of the ocean. That is a problem that may be overcome as technology develops, but you would still have to contend with the increasing effect of the Earth’s rotation as you moved closer to the center, which would eventually see you pulverized against the sides of your tunnel.
But let’s forget all this practical, naysaying stuff. Say it was possible to tunnel through the earth and then slide down it, it would only take you 42 minutes to make the journey to your antipode. It would have taken longer than that to load the site 10 years ago (well, almost). Now we can travel through the earth instantly.
Image Credit: Thinkstock