Conspiracy theories have a way of taking a kernel of truth and expanding it well outside of the world of non-fiction.
Today, we’re going to grab our spelunking gear and go much deeper into a conspiracy theory that claims that the Earth is hollow.
Is Earth hollow?
The Earth isn’t hollow, but the idea that it is was born in virtually every religion and then maintained in popular culture throughout time.
Scientists have proven that the Earth comprises what Atlas Obscura calls “an unbroken series of layers, crusts, and liquid magma surrounding a dense, hot core made primarily of iron and nickel.”
Before their discoveries about the different layers of the Earth came to light, many scientists themselves believed and studied the theory that the Earth was hollow.
Each seemed to put their unique spin on the theory but kept the same idea at the forefront: that Earth was hollow and possibly sustained life.
Who started the theory that the Earth is hollow?
Long before scientists were considering the substance of the Earth, Italian writer Dante Alighieri wrote the poem Inferno in 1320, which references Lucifer falling from the sky (Heaven) and into the Earth (Hell), where he still resides today.
One key scientist in the hollow Earth movement was John Cleves Symmes, Jr., who managed to gather enough attention and followers that they were able to request that in 1822, Congress fund an expedition for him to go to the North Pole, where he believed that one of the entrances to the hollow inside of Earth existed.
He was ultimately shot down for the grant, but he continued to sway members of the public and others in academia until his death.
However, it was Jules Verne’s 1864 book, A Journey to the Centre of the Earth, which would leave its mark on pop culture, serving as an inspiration for an entire genre of science fiction books, and also as an inspiration for the theory of a hollow Earth.
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What do people think exists inside of Earth?
Most believers in the hollow Earth theory believe that the inner Earth is lush, tropical, and home to much further-advanced creatures than humans.
They are sometimes described as lizard-like and much stronger than anything that the outer Earth could sustain.
Many believe it’s very similar to Earth’s outer appearance and has its own atmosphere and even sun to sustain growth.
How do we know that the Earth isn’t hollow?
The Earth comprises four main layers: the crust, the mantle, the outer core, and the inner core.
The crust itself is anywhere from 3 to 44miles thick, and it’s made of solid rock.
While this may seem extremely thick, in comparison to the rest of the Earth’s layers, the crust is quite thin- thinner to scale than the skin on an apple.
We know these things not because someone drilled 44miles below the surface but because we have used seismic waves to get a feel for what’s below us.
Think of it like the inside of your body; you know that your brain exists, but imaging from MRIs, EEGs, and other medical tests are performed, showing you what’s inside and how it moves.
The same type of scientific tests have been performed on the Earth, and so far, all of them have discredited the theory that the Earth is hollow.