NOTE: Edgar Rice Burroughs commenced writing At the Earth's
Core, the first novel in the Pellucidar series, in January 1913
Can it be possible that down in the middle of the earth there is another
earth? That a few hundred miles or so away, separated from us by ground
and rock and vapor and such things, there is a great country inhabited
by a great race?
Scientists innumerable have discovered life, vegetable and animal, upon
other planets. Long ago the seers and wise men peopled the heavens. Exploration
has stretched out toward the truth in all directions save this one. It
remains for an Illinoisan to lead us -- in theory -- in that direction
-- down, down into the earth's innermost recesses and the wonders thereof.
Marshall B. Gardner of Aurora, the scientist in question, does not say
in so many words that people live in the middle of the world. But he makes
a circumstantial case to that effect. It is his belief that there is a
big sun in the earth's interior, that there are immense holes where the
poles are supposed to be, and that the phenomenon of the aurora borealis
and the aurora australis are the result of the interior sun shining out
through the polar holes.
SAYS THE EARTH IS HOLLOW
The Aurora man, who has spent twenty years in studying out his theory,
asserts that the earth's interior, instead of being a molten mass of lava,
as has been claimed by scientists for ages, is hollow and contains a central
nucleus or material sun of about 600 miles in diameter. He says this sun
is surrounded by a corona of ample depth which is inclosed within an envelope
of atmosphere; that this atmosphere is surrounded by a vacuum, and that
between this vacuum and the interior surface of the earth's crust there
is another envelope of atmosphere the thickness or depth of which is approximately
200 miles, thus making the diameter of the earth between its two interior
surfaces a distance of 6,400.
By adding to this amount 1,600 miles, or twice the thickness of the
earth's crust, the diameter of the earth as measured from its exterior
surface would be 8,000 miles.
The author of this remarkable theory declares that instead of a north
and south pole there is at each of these imaginary points an entrance to
the earth's interior 1,400 miles in diameter, or a space sufficiently large
when combined to provide an area ample for keeping the interior temperature
of the earth in an equable condition. He says that all other planetary
bodies of the solar system are substantially of the same general form as
is the earth.
HOW THE WORLD WAS FORMED
"According to my theory," says Gardner, "the earth originally was a mass
of nebulous matter projected from a nucleus in the form of a spiral which
through centrifugal action evolved itself into a central nucleus surrounded
by a ring or wall of nebulous material that was gradually condensed and
cooled until that was gradually condensed and cooled until it became a
new planet with its central sun and polar openings. Every planet originally
was an independent nebula which in the course of time condensed and took
its place with others held in the solar system by the attraction of the
sun, which is the center of all their orbits.
"Such a configuration as that is I believe and shall endeavor to prove
the real one of the earth and of every other planet as well.
"The most obvious objection to such a revolutionary theory is that polar
exploration has demonstrated that the old idea of the solid polar caps
is correct because the poles have been attained and no such polar openings
were discovered as are there according to my theory. This objection is
based upon misapprehension of my argument. I claim polar exploration really
goes to support my theory. But why did not Peary and other explorers find
these polar openings?
"The reason is simple and can best be indicated by asking another question:
Why did man not discover by looking about him that he was living on t eh
surface of what is, practically speaking, an immense sphere? Simply because
the sphere was so large he first thought it was a flat surface, and that
he should move over the surface of it appeared so natural that when he
was first told it was a sphere he began to wonder why he did not 'fall
off.' as he had no conception of the law of gravity.
CONTINUOUS FORCE OF GRAVITY
"Now in the case of the polar explorers the same thing is true. Explorers
arrive at the outer edge of the great polar opening, but that opening is
so large that the downward curvature of its edge is not perceptible to
them, and its diameter is so great that its other side is not visible to
them. And to the error that they might 'fall over the edge.' I answer,
as the scientists answered the people who wondered why they did not 'fall
off the earth'' when they first heard it was a sphere. The force of gravity
holds us in both cases.
"But whereas we are accustomed to think the force of gravity pulls us
toward the center of the earth, because we thing it is solid, as a matter
of fact there is instead a continuous force of gravity throughout the shell
of the earth, and its 'center,' if we can still use that term is in the
center of the earth's crust, distributed equally throughout its whole area,
and therefore working equally in all places.
"This gravity, therefore, hold us down to the surface of the crust on
whatever part of it we may be, and as we journey up to the polar opening,
around the immense curvature of the earth's crust at that point, and in
along the interior surface we are still held down to the surface without
noticing any difference. It is this pull of gravity, coming equally from
all directions, that also holds the interior sun in its position in the
center of the hollow earth.
A JOURNEY THROUGH THE EARTH
"Let us take an imaginary journey to the interior of the earth:
"Starting at the arctic circle and proceeding northward over any one
of the several routes traversed by polar expeditions, we reach the point
marked A on the accompanying diagram. From this point outward and around
the semicircle to the point marked D there are observed an increasing number
of changes and manifestations peculiar to this region, such as the aurora
borealis; the ice pressure observed during still tide an calm weather;
the rising temperatures and rapidly diminishing quantity of ice encountered
as one travels toward the supposed actual site of the pole, until open
water free from ice surrounds the voyager; a south going current of water
instead of one flowing northward; certain migratory animals, including
traces of hares, foxes, lemming, bears, and musk oxen, which could not
have come from warmer lands to the distant south across the immense fields
of ice; last, but not least, extremely well preserved bodies of mammoths
in icebergs when this animal is supposed to have been extinct for 20,000
years; icebergs in these regions cannot remain intact for that length of
AT THE APEX OF THE EARTH'S CRUST
"Having reached the point marked D on the diagram, we are now half way
around the semicircle, or at the apex of the earth's crust or shelf. Here
the magnetic needle of the compass is seen to dip and oscillate in a peculiar
manner owing to its being directly opposite to the point marked I, where
the magnetic force is focused in t eh same manner as the magnetic properties
of an ordinary horseshoe magnet are strongest at the end of either pole.
"At the point marked D we are able to catch our first glimpse of the
corona that surrounds the central sun of the earth, because this sun is,
according to my theory, approximately only 3,300 miles distant from that
point. Therefore it appears reasonable to believe that the corona could
be seen and would have the appearance of a sun rising above the horizon
under favorable atmosphere conditions.
"Continuing our journey around the semi-circle of the earth's crust,
and in reality having pursued a downward or southerly course since leaving
the point marked D, we arrive at the point marked E. Here, according to
my theory, it is possible for us to see the central sun in its entirety
and to realize that we are actually gazing upon the source of the life
and energy of an interior world, a world not unlike our own and but 800
miles distant from us through the earth's crust or shell.
"As we leave the point marked E and continue downward the central sun
will appear to be rising farther and farther above the horizon until at
least it is directly overhead or in the zenith. At this point we will have
traversed the entire semicircle of the earth's crust and actually have
reached the interior surface of the earth after having traveled 1,200 miles
from the point marked A on the diagram, or the exterior surface of the
CONTINUOUS DAY; ONE SEASON
"Resuming our journey southward, it appears reasonable to believe that
we should find conditions somewhat similar to those upon the earth's exterior
surface. The exception noted is that the position of the interior sun remains
unchanged in it s relation to the earth; consequently there is one continuos
day and no change of season within the interior of the earth.
"It is quite evident that a condition of this kind would be productive
of all forms of both animal and plant life to a much higher degree than
obtains on the outside of the earth with its four seasons and extreme changes
"On account of this equable temperature it is apparent the central sun
provides the means necessary for propagating vegetable life to a more luxuriant
degree than is possible on the exterior surface, that the various species
of land animals which may be found on the interior surface, that the various
species of land animals which may be found on the interior surface are
through the action of the central sun upon the interior plant life developed
to a more prodigious size as a result of the more abundant vegetation and
that this extensive growth is due to the increased amount of moisture formed
by the interior sun's uninterrupted radiation.
GIANT ANIMALS; GREAT PLAN LIFE
"Let us pause to speculate upon the nature of phenomena and life that may
be encountered in this interior world. Here exists one unchanging season
and a continuous period of daylight except when certain parts of the earth's
interior surface may be partly obscured by intervening clouds or mists
raised by the sun's constant rays. Here the heat emanating from the central
sun does not affect the temperature to such an extent that either animal
or plant life is placed in jeopardy, because any abnormal condition of
this heat would be dispersed or modified by inrushing currents of cold
air from either or both entrances to the earth's interior.
Here, indeed, we may expect to find a new world, a world the surface
of which is probably subdivided, like ours, into continents, oceans, seas,
lakes, and rivers. Here, through the heat of the central sun, plant life
may exceed in size and luxuriance any vegetation that ever grew upon the
outside surface of the earth. Here may be found strange animals of every
description, some of them even larger, perhaps, than the prehistoric mammoth
and mastodon, on account of the abundant supply of vegetation, and others
of species unrecorded by zoologists.
AND AN UNSUSPECTED RACE
"Here, also, may tread the feet of a race of people whose existence is
unknown and even unsuspected by us. In fact, the existence of an interior
world, such as described, leads us to consider possibilities as ad infinitum
in number and character as those suggested at various times by eminent
astronomers and other learned students of the planets adjacent to the one
upon which we live.
"But let us return from the realms of speculation and continue our journey
southward until the semi-circle at the south polar opening is reached.
Here it is possible we shall find conditions practically the same as those
encountered when the central sun was first observed by us to be in t eh
zenith. As we proceed around the semi-circle of the earth's crust, however,
the sun will appear to be going down behind us until at length it disappears
below the horizon as we finally reach a point corresponding to D on the
semi-circle traversed when entering the earth's interior through the north
"Until more data concerning the central region of the antarctic circle
are obtained than already have been recorded by others I am warranted in
claiming that conditions there will be found to be similar to those within
the central region of the arctic circle. For this reason the remainder
of our journey through the southern entrance to the earth's exterior surface
will doubtless be not unlike that to the interior of the earth through
the northern entrance.
SECRET OF AURORA BOREALIS
"Having completed our journey and emerged throughout he south polar opening,
I submit herewith certain additional observations in support of my theory
that the earth is a hollow sphere with two polar openings, and contains
a central sun. The existence of a central sun offers the one practical
solution of what the aurora borealis and the aurora australis really are,
despite all claims that these phenomena are the result of electricity,
as only by the rays of such a sun passing through the north and south polar
openings in the earth's crust, and being reflected by a cloudy or dense
condition of the atmosphere above these openings, could the northern and
southern lights be produced.
"As the aurora is always confined to the polar regions, varies in color
constantly and lasts for varying periods of time, it is obvious that such
a manifestation is due to a source other than electricity, because the
latter force is, according to those familiar with the laws governing its
action, incapable of creating the illumination known as the aurora.
"I am justified in declaring the only rational theory is that the aurora
is produced by means of the earth's central sun, which shoots its rays
in all directions. Some of these beams come through the polar openings
when they are not prevented by clouds, and if the atmosphere at a certain
height above the polar openings is in a dense or opaque condition will
be reflected as conditions vary in the upper and uninterrupted air, and
also as they vary in the atmosphere of the earth's interior through which
the beams pass on their way to the polar openings.
"In this manner the manifestations of the aurora will vary in brightness,
color, duration, depth, and apparent height from the earth's exterior surface.
WHERE DID THIS DEBRIS COME FROM?
"Unless the earth does contain a central sun which produces and maintains
vegetation, the origin of coal, wood, pollen from plants, etc. found by
explorers upon the ice and snow within the arctic circle must forever remain
a mystery, as it is admitted that such products of vegetable life could
not have been carried toward the polar region when the ice is constantly
moving away from it, and the nearest trees on the exterior surface of the
earth are hundreds on the exterior surface of the earth are hundreds of
miles distant from the localities where these material evidences of plant
life were discovered.
"As the quantity of ice diminishes rapidly as one travels toward the
polar regions, until an open sea is encountered, it is evident that there
must be a source of heat for producing an increase in temperature, and
this source cannot be other than a material sun in the center of the earth.
"As terrific winds suddenly arise within the assumed locality of the
poles when the sky is clear, it is apparent that hot air must be supplanting
cold air somewhere within that region, and such a change can be ascribed
only to currents of cold air rushing into the polar openings to modify
or disperse the heat produced by an interior sun.
"As the air within the immediate vicinity of the so-called north pole
possesses sufficient warmth to form an almost continuous fog, it is evident
that heat sufficient to produce this conditions must come from within the
earth through an opening in the earth's crust or shell, as the ray s of
the sun do not strike the region so affected.
As there have been found within the polar regions certain migratory
animals which could not possibly have come from more temperate lands in
the far south across the arctic fields of ice, the presence of these animals
can be explained only by admitting that they originally inhabited the interior
of the earth and migrated through the polar opening to the place where