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Digging a Tunnel Through the Earth? Get Ready to Get Wet
Your antipodes most likely have fins rather than feet
Imagine that you could drill a hole straight through the Earth. Suspend your disbelief for a moment, ignoring the molten core that would fry you. Where would you end up?
In geographical coordinates, the answer is quite simple(*): If the coordinates (longitude and latitude) of a point on the Earth’s surface are (x, y), then the coordinates of the antipodal point can be written as (x ± 180°, −y). So the latitudes are numerically equal, but one is north and the other south. And the longitudes differ from each other by 180 degrees. Plus or minus: it doesn’t really matter in which direction you count those 180 degrees, as either way will lead you to the same point (a circle having a circumference of 360 degrees).
Antipodes map, eastern hemisphere perspective.
An example. If you start out at, say, 46,95 degrees longitude West and 39,00 degrees latitude North , after you’ve dug through the Earth’s core you’ll end up at longitude 133,05° East (133,05 being the result of 180,00 – 46,95) and latitude 39,00° South.
Only, for most people, the place where you’ll end up won’t be land, but water. The oceans cover about 70% of our planet’s surface. Your antipodes (a Greek word translatable as: ‘those whose feet are on the other side’) mostly don’t have feet, but fins. If you could ‘sandwich’ the Earth, as is done in this map made by Rebecca Catherine Brown (who got the idea from this site, but produced it herself and submitted it to email@example.com), the overlap of land would be surprisingly small.
Antipodes map, western hemisphere perspective.
The title of the 1970s movie ‘The China Syndrome’ refers to the idea that if you dig a hole through the Earth starting in the US, you end up in China. This map shows it ain’t so. In fact, only a little bit of China overlaps – and with the southern part of South America. Funnily enough, the good people of Argentina seem to have taken this into account when naming the city of Formosa, which is the antipode of Taiwan, the island off the Chinese coast formerly known as… Formosa. There’s almost no overlap in North America, none in Africa and just a bit in Europe (the Iberian peninsula with New Zealand’s North Island).
The website Antipodes Map allows for interactive searching for antipodeal locations. Which will probably end up in some ocean or other. Anybody know the Greek word for fin?
Strange Maps #104
Got a strange map? Let me know at firstname.lastname@example.org.
"You dream about these kinds of moments when you're a kid," said lead paleontologist David Schmidt.
- The triceratops skull was first discovered in 2019, but was excavated over the summer of 2020.
- It was discovered in the South Dakota Badlands, an area where the Triceratops roamed some 66 million years ago.
- Studying dinosaurs helps scientists better understand the evolution of all life on Earth.
Credit: David Schmidt / Westminster College<p style="margin-left: 20px;">"We had to be really careful," Schmidt told St. Louis Public Radio. "We couldn't disturb anything at all, because at that point, it was under law enforcement investigation. They were telling us, 'Don't even make footprints,' and I was thinking, 'How are we supposed to do that?'"</p><p>Another difficulty was the mammoth size of the skull: about 7 feet long and more than 3,000 pounds. (For context, the largest triceratops skull ever unearthed was about <a href="https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/02724634.2010.483632" target="_blank">8.2 feet long</a>.) The skull of Schmidt's dinosaur was likely a <em>Triceratops prorsus, </em>one of two species of triceratops that roamed what's now North America about 66 million years ago.</p>
Credit: David Schmidt / Westminster College<p>The triceratops was an herbivore, but it was also a favorite meal of the T<em>yrannosaurus rex</em>. That probably explains why the Dakotas contain many scattered triceratops bone fragments, and, less commonly, complete bones and skulls. In summer 2019, for example, a separate team on a dig in North Dakota made <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2019/07/26/science/triceratops-skull-65-million-years-old.html" target="_blank">headlines</a> after unearthing a complete triceratops skull that measured five feet in length.</p><p>Michael Kjelland, a biology professor who participated in that excavation, said digging up the dinosaur was like completing a "multi-piece, 3-D jigsaw puzzle" that required "engineering that rivaled SpaceX," he jokingly told the <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2019/07/26/science/triceratops-skull-65-million-years-old.html" target="_blank">New York Times</a>.</p>
Morrison Formation in Colorado
James St. John via Flickr
|Credit: Nobu Tamura/Wikimedia Commons|
The world's 10 most affected countries are spending up to 59% of their GDP on the effects of violence.
- Conflict and violence cost the world more than $14 trillion a year.
- That's the equivalent of $5 a day for every person on the planet.
- Research shows that peace brings prosperity, lower inflation and more jobs.
- Just a 2% reduction in conflict would free up as much money as the global aid budget.
- Report urges governments to improve peacefulness, especially amid COVID-19.
The lush biodiversity of South America's rainforests is rooted in one of the most cataclysmic events that ever struck Earth.
- One especially mysterious thing about the asteroid impact, which killed the dinosaurs, is how it transformed Earth's tropical rainforests.
- A recent study analyzed ancient fossils collected in modern-day Colombia to determine how tropical rainforests changed after the bolide impact.
- The results highlight how nature is able to recover from cataclysmic events, though it may take millions of years.