(Investigator 99, 2004 November)
Edmond Halley (1656-1742), English astronomer and mathematician, thought that planet Earth consists of several concentric spheres around an inner solid core.
He speculated that Earth's interior supported life and had a luminous atmosphere that bathed it in continuous light.
John C Symes an American army captain in the war of 1812 claimed that Earth consisted of five concentric spheres. He added that there was a huge hole or entrance, hundreds of miles wide, at the north and south poles. Symes is the probable author of Symzonia: A Voyage of Discovery (1820) which describes a Utopian civilization inside the hollow Earth.
Various fiction writers took up the idea. Jules Verne (1828-1905) wrote Journey to the Centre of the Earth (1864). This was made into a movie of the same name.
American author Edgar Rice Burroughs (1875-1950) wrote several novels set inside the hollow Earth including a novel in his Tarzan series.
In 1920 M B Gardner also wrote about the hollow Earth but rejected the idea of five concentric spheres. He claimed the interior is lighted and warmed by a miniture sun.
Refutation came in 1926 and 1929 when American aviator/explorer Richard E Byrd (1888-1957) made flights over the North and South Pole but did not see any openings. When the Space Age came, satellite photos likewise showed no openings.
responded with conspiracy theories
and/or with new versions of hollow Earth. Richard Shaver of
for example, considered the Earth like a honeycomb with numerous vast
in the interior.
Some objections to the Earth being hollow are:
The reduced mass would mean low gravity – the atmosphere and oceans would have boiled away into Space; Low gravity also implies a low escape velocity – anyone who pole-vaulted or even jumped might fly off into Space; Low gravity also means that the Moon would be much further away; A hollow Earth would have no magnetic field because this is generated by the iron centre; Plate tectonics and mountain-building could not occur, and therefore erosion would have reduced the continents to flat plains; There would be no major volcanism and lava flows; The Moon is believed to have formed from debris thrown into Space when a Mars-size object collided with Earth. If the Earth were hollow, such a collision would have shattered it; Subject to the thickness surrounding the alleged hollow, the impacts of large asteroids in Earth's early history might also have shattered the Earth; The planets formed by the accretion of clouds of gases and dust revolving around the Sun – a process that would not form concentric spheres separated by hollows; Studies of Earth's interior via seismic waves, show the Earth solid or filled, not hollow.