Open main menu

Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 47.djvu/314

This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.
302
THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

THE BOWELS OF THE EARTH.
By ALFRED C. LANE.

WHITHER man can not go his imagination the more fondly travels. Thus a most striking difference between man and the apes lies in the vast and boundless range of man's curiosity. Curiosity indeed becomes the mother of Science, while the collection of curiosities grows into the scientific museum. It is natural, therefore, that for generations the mysterious and inaccessible north pole and the bowels of the earth have been favorite dwellings for men's fancies. Since the abodes of the dead are equally mysterious and inaccessible to the living, we are not surprised to find these regions combined, and the dead consigned either to infernal—that is, inferior—regions, or, as did the Scandinavian saga, to the frozen north. But it was reserved for the fertile genius of an American naval officer to combine with one fell swoop the solution of all these mysteries into one, by supposing that the world was hollow, and that there was no north pole, but, instead, a vast annular cavity leading into interior and Arcadian regions, auroral glimpses and flashes of whose electric lights sometimes stream beyond the portals. Unfortunately, his solution is erroneous, and it is our aim in this paper to see what light science really has from the dark regions of Proserpine, and to consider why the world can neither be hollow nor stuffed with sawdust. Our light is, of course, indirect, as the depth below the surface of the earth to which man has burrowed is very small. The deepest mines are little over four thousand feet deep; and although, when one sees the rapid strides that the science of mining is making and the unexampled speed with which in the past four or five years shafts have been sunk over four thousand feet deep to tap the rich deposits of native copper on the south shore of Lake Superior, one may soon hope to see mines over a mile deep, yet, if we say that mines will never go down over two miles below the

Comment The footer is part of the previous article and was appended to the previous page' footer. — Ineuw talk 13:51, 3 May 2016 (UTC)