There is no RationalWiki without you. We are a small non-profit with no staff – we are hundreds of volunteers who document pseudoscience and crankery around the world every day. We will never allow ads because we must remain independent. We cannot rely on big donors with corresponding big agendas. We are not the largest website around, but we believe we play an important role in defending truth and objectivity.
If everyone who saw this today donated $5, we would meet our goal for 2020.
| Fighting pseudoscience isn't free.|
We are 100% user-supported! Help and donate $5, $20 or whatever you can today with !
| The fault in our stars|
| Some dare call it|
|What THEY don't want|
you to know!
The Hollow Earth theory is a pseudoscientific belief and conspiracy theory stating that the Earth is
propagated by people whose skulls are hollow. Theories include that the inhabitants of the "Inner Earth" walk around the inside feet-up,[notes 1] or that a smaller sphere is inside the larger (sometimes it is stated this object works like a sun for the inner Earth denizens), which is more in line with the theory of gravity, though not geology.
The British scientist Edmond Halley (1656-1742) proposed a hollow Earth to explain anomalous compass readings. The anomalies are now known to be caused by changes in the Earth's magnetic field as well as mountains and localized iron ore deposits.
L. Sprague de Camp and Willy Otto Oskar Ley in their book Lands Beyond dubiously claimed that the scientist Leonhard Euler (1707-1783) proposed a different hollow Earth scheme, but they provided no evidence of Euler's scheme.
US Army officer John Cleves Symmes, Jr. (1780-1829) was the first known person to propose a hollow Earth with openings at both poles. He persuaded President John Quincy Adams to fund an expedition to the North Pole, but Adams left office before this could occur.
With the advent of satellite imagery made widely available on the internet, many people have been studying images from Google Maps and elsewhere seeking to find the portal. The imagery of Antarctica on Google Maps isn't particularly good, with lots of blurry shapes, leading some to believe a secret portal is either vaguely discernible if you squint enough, or the images are deliberately blurred to stop the truth getting out. There's also allegedly a giant hole over the Arctic visible in some photos.
The conspiracy aspect supposedly relates to a large hole providing access to the underworld, which is located somewhere in the Arctic or Antarctic regions, and the attempts to keep it quiet made by the superpowers in conjunction with whatever the Grand Theory du jour is, be it reptilians, Tibetan masters, Atlanteans and/or aliens. That there are undisclosed entrances to these "inner worlds" extends also to the Moon, with one video purporting that you can see it on Google Earth, though this is just a graphics glitch caused by stitching multiple low-resolution and high-contrast images together in combination with the usual seam errors produced at the poles when using spherical UV mapping. These theories are also associated with apocryphal stories of apparently bottomless holes in various locations, such as Mel's Hole in Washington, USA.
It's not clear what supports the surface of the Earth according to the Hollow Earth Theory, since the surface of the Earth we can see would most likely collapse under the force of gravity without a substrate (the mantle and inner core are solid, the outer core is liquid, and both states are highly resistant to compression). Nor is it clear what keeps the denizens from floating away from the inner surface.
There's also the problem that the "shell" would need to be really dense, in order to produce a gravitational field this strong.[notes 2]
Other issues are related to geology. Not only is a hollow Earth unable to account for the way seismic waves propagate through the planet's interior but is also questionable how it could explain plate tectonics, the presence of a magnetic field, and how that crust has managed to be intact despite asteroid impacts that more than likely would have shattered something so thin leaving huge holes behind[notes 3], especially those big ones during Earth's early history.
Finally, there's the question of exactly why this would be kept secret — as with several other conspiracy theories, there seems to be no motive behind this one aside from "Let's make the unwashed masses look really stupid!"
A typical pro-Hollow Earth video
- Cellular cosmogony (Earth as the inner surface of a hollow)
- Expanding Earth
- Flat Earth
- Richard Shaver
- Time Cube
- Ernst Zundel
- Hollow sun
is part of the conspiracydoesn't work this way; they'd be weightless.
- Gravity = Universal Gravitational constant × mass of object1 × mass of object2 over the radius squared. The average density of Earth's crust is 3g/cm3 and is ~10km thick. So by their reckoning (4/3)π×radius of the earth - (4/3)π×(radius of the earth -10km) is their volume of the earth (1215778930×4π/3km3). And the mantle and core are much denser than the crust. So that number × 3×1012 kg/km3 = 1.57978336×1022 kg. Or ~.2% of Earth's mass…
- Imagine the huge sinkhole (and the subsequent mess) left by a hit in the middle of an ocean
- Euler and the Hollow Earth: Fact or Fiction? by Ed Sandifer (April 2007). Archive.org copy
- Yenne, William (2003). Secret Weapons of World War II: The Techno-Military Breakthroughs That Changed History. New York: Berkley Books. pp. 271–272. ISBN 0425189929.
- Hollow Earth on Google Earth? See yourself., Above Top Secret forums, 2007
- 'NASA images show giant hole at North Pole leading to hollow Earth' conspiracy theorists claim, The Daily Mirror (UK), 21 May 2016
- "HOLLOW EARTH PROOF ON GOOGLE EARTH" uploaded by MAISINICIATIVA on September 24, 2014