Hole through the Earth

You read it right, but it’s not so bad. The whole was supposed to be only exploratory, as envisioned by Camille Flammarion and described in The Strand in 1909.

I have had the idea in mind for some time past of sinking a shaft into the earth for the express purpose of scientific exploration, descending as far below the surface as the utmost resources of modern science would permit. This idea has just been forcibly recalled to my attention in consequence of the recent earthquakes and the extremely contradictory opinions of geologists upon the interior state of the globe. Is this globe liquid or solid? From the most ancient times scientific men have considered the problem under all its bearings, without having succeeded in lighting upon any satisfactory solution.

The first result would be to obtain an inexhaustible source of heat, which might be distributed and applied to industrial purposes. According to the most authentic estimates, the boiling-point will be found at a depth of about two miles. The second result would be the exploration of this unknown world itself. Who knows what curiosities of geology and palaeontology might be revealed by this investigation into these dark abysses of the earth? What mines of iron, of copper, of precious metals such as gold, platinum, silver, radium, and of elements hitherto unknown and unsuspected? What fossils belonging to the remotest periods of antiquity?

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