As with many theories, the Hollow Earth theory is a perfect example of an interesting idea that eventually is taken to extremes. The extremes unfortunately serve to discredit the theory as a whole. What if the Earth was not hollow, but small portions of the Earth’s crust had incredibly vast systems of caverns? And what may live within those caverns?
The theory that planet Earth is much like a balloon with a majority of its center being entirely hollow has been around for quite some time. John Quincy Adams in 1818 reported that he would support an expedition to the North Pole in an attempt to discover an entrance through the Earth’s crust. Unfortunately for the expedition, Adams was never able to fund the expedition before leaving office. There have been, however, several expeditions claiming to have either found or attempted to find this hole. As the evolution of the theory reached the 1920’s pulp fiction and Amazing Stories crowd, the hollow Earth was hit by the arrival of the ‘Derros.’ These robotic beings were said to inhabit the Earth’s hollow center and conduct horrifying experiments on humans. The story gained an incredible amount of press, largely because it was based on eyewitness reports and what would later be discovered as a series of hoaxes.
But with all the sensationalism of the hollow Earth theory, is it possible that there is actually something more to it without necessarily hollowing out the entire Earth? On land, the average thickness of the Earth’s crust is an estimated thirty miles. So if you were to hop in an elevator and start going down rapidly at approximately 10 miles per hour, you could spend an average of three hours before you reached the Earth’s mantle. Areas at higher elevation obviously have more mantle to break through. And yet on this geologically complex planet with volcanoes spewing lava tubes and rock formations creating naturally occurring cave systems which may be covered by miles of rock in a landslide, is it so impossible that during the course of a billion years massive trenches and caves could not have been created in the Earth?
Mammoth Cave in Kentucky, for example, has been mapped so far with around 397 miles lengthwise burrowed beneath the Earth. A single ceiling collapse or missed cavern could lead to another 500 miles going even deeper down. And with the incredible lack of knowledge we have of the Earth’s interior there could easily be hundreds or thousands of systems like it throughout the Earth. Is this not a possible hollow Earth scenario? And with hundreds of miles unexplored, there’s no telling the number of species that have yet to be discovered. What could possibly be dwelling in the rocks far beneath the Earth at our very feet?
It’s a common misperception that the Earth is rigidly explored beneath its surface. And yet miners discover natural cave formations with surprising frequency. Sinkholes swallow entire buildings and reach deep into the Earth suggesting there are large pockets of hollow area waiting to be explored. And for every square mile on the surface of the planet there are on average thirty miles of potential exploration going down. When we take this into consideration, the total area of Earth’s crust is less than one percent fully explored with untold treasures and adventures to be had lurking beneath our feet.