Have you ever wondered what would happen if you drilled a hole through the Earth and jumped into it? Well, you might be surprised to find out that you could end up in a place with the same name as your starting point, but on the opposite side of the globe. That is, if you start from the city of Formosa in Argentina and end up on the island of Taiwan, formerly known as Formosa.
Formosa means “beautiful” in Portuguese and was given to both places by Portuguese explorers in the 16th century, without knowing they were antipodes, meaning they are located on opposite sides of the Earth. “The name Formosa stuck for both places for centuries, even though the Portuguese never colonised either of them,” according to an article by The Conversation.
But how long would it take to travel from one Formosa to another through the Earth’s core? According to a physics article by HyperPhysics, it would take about 21 minutes to reach the center of the Earth and then emerge on the other side, before falling back again. The article explains the hypothetical scenario of drilling a hole through the Earth and dropping into it using physics formulas and diagrams. It also discusses the effects of air friction, density variation, and rotation of the Earth on the outcome.
“The idea of drilling a hole through the Earth is a classic physics problem that has fascinated generations of students and teachers,” the article says. However, it also warns that the journey through the Earth is not as simple as it seems. “There are many factors that would affect the outcome, such as air friction, density variation, and rotation of the Earth,” it adds.
If you are curious to find out where you would end up if you drilled a hole through the Earth from any location, you can check out a map created by Andy Woodruff, a cartographer and web developer, that shows the antipodes of every point on the Earth’s surface. The map is featured in an article by ShortList and allows users to zoom in and out and see where they would end up if they drilled a hole through the Earth from any location.
“If you could drill a hole through the Earth, you’d find that most places end up in the ocean. But there are some interesting exceptions,” the article says. Some of the interesting antipodal pairs mentioned in the article are New Zealand and Spain, Hawaii and Botswana, and of course, Formosa and Formosa.
So, if you ever feel like traveling to the other side of the world in 21 minutes, you might want to consider drilling a hole through the Earth. But be prepared to face some challenges along the way, such as extreme heat, pressure, and speed. And don’t forget to pack your passport, just in case.
– This map shows you where you’d end up if you drilled a hole right through the Earth, ShortList, July 20, 2017
– Antipodes: The other side of the world, BBC News, April 14, 2023
– The curious case of Formosa: How a city in Argentina and an island in Taiwan share the same name, The Conversation, April 12, 2023
– How to drill a hole through the Earth and survive, Popular Science, April 10, 2023