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How deep is the earth?

How deep is earth? How would you measure it?
Jess from Stockton on Tees (Aged 5-14)

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One Response

  1. It rather depends on what aspect or meaning of the word earth you asking about.

    From ancient times onwards people have been interested in the size of the Earth but because it is so big it is difficult to measure. Once people realised that the Earth is a sphere (or almost) then then they could start to think of ways of measuring that shape based on their knowledge of smaller spheres. In ancient times various mathematicians including Eratosthenes used geometry and the shadows from the sun to calculate the circumference of the Earth. Since those times more and more accuarate measurements have been made. If the circumference is known then other dimensions can be calculated.

    It is now known that the Earth has a diameter of approximately 7926 miles at the equator. So that tells you approximatety how far it is to the other side through the centre.

    However if you want to know how deep the solid layer on the surface of the Earth is then it is the ‘crust’ that must be measured. This rocky layer can be up to 47 miles deep but is much thinner in places.

    In your question you do not use a capital letter for the word earth so perhaps you are referring to it as soil. If so, then the soil varies in depth very greatly from zero on a mountain top to very deep in places like the Fens, where I live, where it can be as much as 7 metres.

    So, as a chlid once wrote in his answer to the question ‘How deep is the soil?’, it order pens (he meant it all depends)!!

    Peter Halford, Science and Technology Teacher, Imperial War Museum Duxford.

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