Planet Earth: flat or hollow?

12th-century depiction of a spherical Earth with the four seasons (book Liber Divinorum Operum by Hildegard of Bingen)

People seem to love alternative theories about the planet we call home – are we in fact living on a flat disk rather than a ball orbiting in space? Or are we on a ball orbiting in space that happens to be hollow on the inside? (other theories are also available, including the Expanding Earth theory)

Flat Earth theory

Flat Earth map drawn by Orlando Ferguson in 1893

The Flat Earth is a conception of the Earth’s shape as a plane or disk. Often surrounded by a impenetrable ring of mountains (i.e. a stretched out version of Antarctica).

Apparently, many ancient cultures believed they were living on a flat plane. And the idea has survived to the modern era. There are large numbers of YouTube videos on the Flat Earth theory, which if anything seems to have gained followers over the last several years.

However, for science-lovers, Professor Dave’s de-bunking of the Flat Earth theory seems quite convincing. The prevailing concept of a largely spherical Earth in a heliocentric system (Earth and the other planet’s revolving round the Sun) lives on.

Hollow Earth theory

A map of “The Interior World”, from The Goddess of Atvatabar by William Bradshaw (1892)

The Hollow Earth theory proposes that planet Earth is entirely hollow or contains a substantial interior space. In many ways, this is a much more interesting idea. After all, its not exactly an easy place to investigate. The deepest hole that has been drilled into the surface of the Earth went down 7.5 miles (12km). Perhaps there’s more for us to learn?

There is also an array of mythology, folklore and legend suggesting that there may be a subterranean land inside of the Earth; and authors Taylor and Taylor – in their book The Land of No Horizon – made an attempt at a scientific basis for a hollow planet.

Needless to say, the current scientific consensus is that the Hollow Earth theory is not a viable hypothesis (mainly due to our understanding of seismic waves and gravity).

If you’re still interested in the potential hollowness of the Earth, the videos below provide some food for thought.

Short video

Clip from Season 10, Episode 6 “The Other Earth”, Ancient Aliens, the History channel

Long video

‘Hollow Earth Science’ talk by Dr Brooks Agnew at Contact in the Desert conference

Selected books

  • The Land of No Horizon – the Inner Earth holds the secret to the origins of humanity (by Taylor & Taylor, 2001)
  • Is Earth Really a Solid?: The Evidence Reexamined (by Oliver Milatovic)
  • World Top Secret: our Earth IS Hollow! (by Rodney M Cluff)
  • Lost Continents & The Hollow Earth (by David Hatcher Childress, 1999)

Author info

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