A Geological Journey To The Centre Of The Earth I Oxford Open Learning

    Journey to the Centre of the Earth

    A Geological Journey To The Centre Of The Earth

    We know now that a journey to the centre of the earth would be nowhere near as fantastic as Jules Verne’s depiction, with dinosaurs, secret civilisations and sunken cities. Rather, it would be more like a hi-tech, brute force drilling exercise through gigatonnes of rock, much like what was seen in the 2003 science-fiction disaster movie, The Core. The film depicted a group of scientists who constructed a super drill to take them to the centre of the earth to restart the its core with a nuclear bomb. Well, if a bunch of pioneering scientists really took that journey, this is what they would find…

    Journey To The Centre Of The Earth: Mariana To Mantle

    Just like in the movie the scientists would probably start the journey at the bottom of the the Mariana Trench in the Pacific Ocean, which at 11km in depth, would cut out a lot of unnecessary drilling. Initially, they would encounter the Earth’s crust. This is the outermost layer of the Earth, ranging from about 20 to 80 kilometres in thickness beneath the continents and about 8 kilometres beneath the ocean floor. This explains why it would make sense to enter the earth through the thinner oceanic crust.

    Beneath the crust lies the mantle, a layer of mostly solid rock made of iron, magnesium, and silicon that extends to a depth of approximately 2,900 kilometres. The mantle is dense, hot and semi-solid. and for any pioneering geonauts, they would be drilling through a caramel candy like substance. In the cooler first 200 kilometres of the mantle, they could encounter diamonds in crystalline form.

    Outer And Inner Core

    The next part of this geological journey to the centre of the earth would be the outer core, which is made of iron and nickel and is in pure liquid form, sitting around 5000 to 3000 kilometres below the surface. It’s heated by the radioactive decay of uranium and thorium, and the liquid churns in a huge turbulent current, which would make for a bumpy ride for any geonaut traversing it. These currents create electrical current and generate the earth’s magnetic field.

    Having navigated the radioactive swamp of the outer core our geonauts would now arrive at the Earth’s core proper, the subject of the far-fetched disaster movie I referenced earlier. This is a sold metal sphere made from nickel and iron. With a radius of about 1,200 kilometres it has a temperature of 5,400 degrees Celsius which is almost as hot as the surface of the sun. Pressures here are thought to be 3,000,000 million times greater than on the surface of the earth. It’s mind-blowing! Scientists believe there may be an inner, inner core built of iron and the temperatures and pressures here would be unimaginable!

    Such a journey might be purely hypothetical, but it is nonetheless an interesting one to make.


    If you are interested in studying Geography or a Science subject, Oxford Home Schooling offers the chance to do so at a variety of levels, listed below. You can also Contact Us via this link.

    Geography Key Stage 3

    Science Key Stage 3

    Biology A level

    Biology IGCSE

    Chemistry IGCSE

    Human Biology IGCSE

    Physics IGCSE

    Science IGCSE

    See more by

    I am a practising HR consultant working with several start-ups on an ongoing and ad-hoc basis in the London and M4 area, and am a Chartered Member of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development or CIPD. I am the Director of thecareercafe.co.uk; thecareercafe.co.uk is a resource for start-ups and small business. It includes a blog containing career advice, small business advice articles, HR software reviews, and contains great resources such as HR Productivity Apps.