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If it was possible to dig a hole that went from one side of the earth to the other…

This question may not be suitable here and it could be closed in seconds but I wanna give it a try.

  1. is it possible to dig a hole to the other side of the Earth?
  2. If we did somehow manage to dig a hole to the other side of the Earth, would we fall through?
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marked as duplicate by Deepak Vaid, David Z Apr 7 '11 at 21:39

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Duplicate? physics.stackexchange.com/q/7346 –  Roy Simpson Apr 7 '11 at 18:53
    
@Roy yes a little but it doesn't explain if it is possible or not :S –  tugberk Apr 7 '11 at 19:05
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It is possible but we can't do it. –  Eelvex Apr 7 '11 at 19:56
    
@Eelvex @Mark suggested that it is not. how is that possible? –  tugberk Apr 7 '11 at 20:04
    
I read a sf short story that postulated beings able to manipulate a remnant superstring in a a complicated way that allowed the to bore a pole-to-pole hole through Venus and drop our hero on the classic trip through. It takes exotic materials because of the pressure and heat at the core of a terrestrial type planet. –  dmckee Apr 7 '11 at 20:47
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1 Answer 1

up vote 6 down vote accepted

No, it is not feasible to dig a hole to the center of the Earth.

The deepest such hole appears to be the Kola Superdeep Borehole, which goes down about 12km, or about 0.2% of the way to the center of the Earth.

The pressure at the center of the Earth is so high that rocks are about five or six times denser there than at the crust; they have literally been crushed down to a fraction of their original size. The temperature there is believed to be around 7000K, hot enough to melt just about any metal. Clearly, this is not a reasonable engineering goal.

You might be interested in a 2003 paper by Dave Stevenson proposing to study the deep interior of Earth by dropping molten iron down a crack in the crust and allowing it to sink all the way to the core. I can't seem to find the original paper, but here's a readable summary. The reference is

  • A87. Stevenson, David J. Mission to Earth’s Core -A Modest Proposal. Nature, 423, 239-240, 2003.
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thanks for the response. that was very informative. –  tugberk Apr 7 '11 at 20:02
    
Although the 20% of the volume due to pressure overstates things quite a bit. Differentiation (Iron-Nickel in the core would have a density more like 8-9 at surface pressure). Interesting little g increases as you go downwards until you reach the core-mantle boundary. The density concentration is sufficient to do that. –  Omega Centauri Apr 7 '11 at 20:24
    
@Omega good point, thanks. I edited. –  Mark Eichenlaub Apr 7 '11 at 20:37
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