Digging a Hole to China: Fun with Antipodes
12 Aug 2007
Watching the Simpsons Movie over the weekend, I was reminded of something I frequently heard as a child: “if you dig a hole straight down through the Earth, you’ll end up in China.” It’s not true, of course… you’d end up in China only if your tunnel totally missed the center of the Earth.
I asked some Chinese friends about this. Were they ever told that if they dug a hole straight down through the Earth they’d end up somewhere? To my disappointment, they said no.
Still, there has been plenty of interest in antipodes (the exact opposite point, running straight through the earth’s center, of any point on the globe). Here’s a wikipedia map showing what regions overlap:
So you can see that China mostly just overlaps with Argentina, and most countries don’t overlap with any land at all. According to another website, China gets these exciting antipodes match-ups:
1. Beijing – Bahia Blanca, Argentina
2. Shanghai – Buenos Aires, Argentina
3. Wuhan – Cordoba, Argentina
4. Xi’an – Santiago, Chile
5. Taipei – Asuncion, Paraguay
If you want to explore your own antipodes, there’s a cool “dual Google Map” Antipodes Map that let’s you do just that graphically, as well as a (more boring) online antipodal calculator for figuring out actual longitude and latitude.
Key takeaway: China is a cool place to visit, but you better do your homework before you go to the trouble of digging a hole all the way through the center of the Earth.