How to Get to the Center of the Earth (Theoretically)

Dillon Huselton, Staff Writer

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What is under the surface of the Earth? This question has been asked for lifetimes, and science has a pretty good idea, but we have never actually seen the center of our planet. So let’s go to the center of the Earth.

 

First off we will need a lot of money; the predicted cost of drilling past the first and thinnest layer (the crust) is estimated to cost one billion dollars. To get to the center of the Earth, let’s say we get a very generous grant of 300 quadrillion dollars ($300,000,000,000,000,000) and free labor. Now that financing has been fixed, let’s break down how long it would take.

 

The deepest hole in the world; the Kola Superdeep Borehole, took about 20 years to drill one third of the way to the mantle. That is 60 years to break into the mantle, which is about 83 times bigger than the crust, so it would take 4,980 years to break through the mantle plus the additional 60 years to break the crust.

 

The next layer is the outer core, which is about 68 times thicker than the Earth’s crust. It would take an additional 4,080 years to break to the inner core. We are almost there – only half of the inner core to go. Take the thickness of the inner core and divide it by two because we only need to go halfway in to reach the center. Then take half the thickness of the inner core divided by the thickness of the crust to get the difference of the thicknesses. Take the difference multiplied by the time it takes to drill through the crust to get the time to drill through half of the inner core. The time it takes to drill through the important half of the inner core would take 1,140 years. Add up all those numbers and you get – drumroll please – a grand total of 10,260 years to drill into the true center of the Earth using conventional drilling technology. That translates to a whopping 130 lifetimes to drill into the center of the earth.

 

So what about unconventional drilling techniques? We could get to the center of the Earth in about 30 minutes by launching all of America’s nuclear weapons at a single point. The only issue is that nobody would be alive to see it, and there would most likely not be an Earth to see. Nukes are out of the equation, but what about lasers? Lasers work by heating up an object, so an incredibly high powered laser would not dig into the Earth, but would instead turn the rock into lava.

 

Since explosives and lasers are not viable methods of reading the center of the Earth, it looks like we will just have to wait until science can find a better way to drill into the Earth, but until then we can hope and dream of what lies beneath our feet.