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Hollow Earth Theory on the rise

Hollow Earth Theory on the rise

Following on from our report about the prominence of the Flat Earth conspiracy theory, there have been a string of off-shoot theories in which people are rejecting science and centuries of logical progression in favour of two hundred year old ideas.

In times of populism, suspicion and anti-globalisation it’s perhaps unsurprising that these schisms in popular culture arise as a consequence. Arguments against these theories are as simple as pointing out of the window of a plane, or perhaps dropping an apple on the floor to prove gravity.

This doesn’t stop the theorists, though, and counter to the fairly new and alluring conspiracies of Flat Earth, or Alex Jones of InfoWars in the US who insists that Hillary Clinton is a shape shifter who eats babies, the Hollow Earth theory is fairly old hat.

The idea of a hollow space underneath the Earth’s crust has been maintained for millennia and even in ancient mythology where it was hypothesised that hell was indeed underneath our feet. The idea of subterranean realms seemed arguable, and became intertwined with the concept of "places" of origin or afterlife, such as the Greek underworld, the Nordic Svartálfaheimr, the Christian Hell, and the Jewish Sheol. The idea of a subterranean realm is also mentioned in Tibetan Buddhism belief.  

The leading Hollow Earth believers are of more modern times. One of the most popular proponents of the theory, and arguably the father of the movement, was 17th century scientist Edmund Halley, of Halley’s comet fame. Halley proposed that The Earth was, in fact, made up of roughly 500 mile thick crusts, and might look something like a dart board if viewed from a distance when dissected. Halley didn’t go as far as to suggest that magical creatures lived in mysterious underground worlds at that point, that was to come later. Halley gave his reasoning for his theory based on the irregular readings compasses get near the poles which we now know to be related to the Earth’s magnetic field.

Having presumably all decided that Halley was absolutely insane, his ideas were left to go unnoticed for roughly 100 years until an equally insane torchbearer, soldier and scholar John Cleves Symmes Jr. proposed that there were several entrances to the hollow Earth in the early 19th century.

"I declare the earth is hollow, and habitable within; containing a number of solid concentric spheres, one within the other, and that it is open at the poles 12 or 16 degrees; I pledge my life in support of this truth, and am ready to explore the hollow, if the world will support and aid me in the undertaking," Symmes wrote in 1818.

Where does the theory sit today then? A typical Hollow Earth theorist may tell you that the interior of Earth consists of multiple environments that are punctuated with mysterious and long-extinct animals. In a noticeable number of these theories there are also aliens. A typical feature for the conspiracy proponents is that there are inner-world inhabitants that are either super advanced or have achieved some form of utopia. Others say that the world has been colonized by missing explorers—in almost all of the theories, the inner worlds are presented as strongly superior to ours.

The reasons provided for the existence of Hollow Earth against all known scientific logic and evidence are as follows:

> Newton’s theory of gravity remains untested. “How can we be sure that the Earth really has the mass accorded it by Newtonian gravity?” One man asks.

> The findings of Seismology (Research of earthquakes) are often different to those predicted.

> Finally, most amusingly, “Lava cannot possibly be rising from the centre of the Earth as some may be tempted to think. It would cool down and become solid on its long, slow journey upwards. Lava is therefore a surface phenomenon and does not in any way reflect what the Earth is like 50 or 100 or more miles down. “

When this was raised on a thread online, a physicist quickly responded to this with some rebuttals.

On gravity: “On that site they discuss the possibility for the force of gravity to change depending on where in the universe you are. This goes against all measurements we have ever made of the universe ever, for gravitational pull and many other things, which show that the physics in the universe appear to be identical no matter where you are.”

On Seismology: “Just pointing out that there are discrepancies is completely meaningless and tells us nothing. The important message here is that seismology is an extremely well understood and robust field that returns results that are undeniable representations of the interior of the planet.”

Finally, on lava: “Even assuming its premises are correct it reaches an absurd conclusion. We know we have evidence for magmas that originate deep in the planet. We also have magmas that originate in the crust, and they are very different types of magmas”.

It is entirely outside of our remit to tell you what to think on this matter, we simply reveal the arguments from both sides. Whether you believe all scientific evidence from the past 200 years, or whether you believe there is a secret hole in the Arctic where you’re able to travel inside the centre of the Earth to observe dinosaurs, Vikings and aliens is entirely your prerogative.

Image source: Telegraph

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