At the Earth's Core

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 19

unless we were indeed standing upon the inside surface of a
sphere?"

"But the sun, Perry!" I urged. "How in the world can the sun shine
through five hundred miles of solid crust?"

"It is not the sun of the outer world that we see here. It is another
sun--an entirely different sun--that casts its eternal noonday
effulgence upon the face of the inner world. Look at it now, David--if
you can see it from the doorway of this hut--and you will see that it
is still in the exact center of the heavens. We have been here for
many hours--yet it is still noon.

"And withal it is very simple, David. The earth was once a nebulous
mass. It cooled, and as it cooled it shrank. At length a thin crust
of solid matter formed upon its outer surface--a sort of shell; but
within it was partially molten matter and highly expanded gases. As it
continued to cool, what happened? Centrifugal force burled the
particles of the nebulous center toward the crust as rapidly as they
approached a solid state. You have seen the same principle practically
applied in the modern cream separator. Presently there was only a
small super-heated core of gaseous matter remaining within a huge
vacant interior left by the contraction of the cooling gases. The
equal attraction of the solid crust from all directions maintained this
luminous core in the exact center of the hollow globe. What remains of
it is the sun you saw today--a relatively tiny thing at the exact
center of the earth. Equally to every part of this inner world it
diffuses its perpetual noonday light and torrid heat.

"This inner world must have cooled sufficiently to support animal life
long ages after life appeared upon the outer crust, but that the same
agencies were at work here is evident from the similar forms of both
animal and vegetable creation which we have already seen. Take the
great beast which attacked us, for example. Unquestionably a
counterpart of the Megatherium of the post-Pliocene period of the outer
crust, whose fossilized skeleton has been found in South America."

"But the grotesque inhabitants of this forest?" I urged. "Surely they
have no counterpart in the earth's history."

"Who can tell?" he rejoined. "They may constitute the link between ape
and man, all traces of which have been swallowed by the countless
convulsions which have racked the outer crust, or they may be merely
the result of evolution along slightly different lines--either is

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