Journey to the Center of the Earth

Jules Verne was an extraordinary man, thinking outside the box. He was inquisitive and he had a marvelous imagination that took him to the far depths of the Earth and into the miraculous wonders of the Heavens. His vivid imagination even took him on a voyage to Africa, travelling not my ship or plan but in a balloon. Jules Verne had a vision, a way with words, and was far ahead of his time. He was born in Nantes, France on February 8, 1828. Though his father intended for him to study law, Jules decided that he wanted to study theater and become a playwright. From this writing experience, he became a novelist, creating several popular science fiction books.


One popular novel of Verne's is Journey to the Center of the Earth (1864), which has made it to movie screens and television. In Journey, Verne enters into a new world that had not yet been explored, except in his mind. In this voyage, he has 3 characters take a leap into science fiction that takes them deep into the Icelandic Volcano of Snaefels. The characters face their own personal fears because they are unsure of the outcome of their risky adventure into the unknown. They believe that the further they go within the Earth’s foundation; they will eventually travel into the past. And like most stories that keep you entertained and captivated, the plot thickens as they run into difficulties, making the journey not an easy feat.


During the time Jules Verne was writing Journey to the Center of the Earth, the Earth’s actual composition was not known; it had not been explored, studied or documented. Verne knew that the Earth spewed lava from volcanoes, showing that some of the Earth internal parts were hot enough to melt rock. Jules Verne also believed that to arrive at the center of the Earth, the travelers would have to make a journey of 4,000 miles down a preexisting shaft while on foot. But of course, we know this is impossible. While this is the work of the author's imagination, his text also mirrored the very real quest for knowledge that scientists and scholars were undergoing during Verne's own lifetime.

  • Jules Verne: Journey to the Center of the Earth This is an article with an overview of Jules Verne’s book. As a lesson plan for students, it gives topics on writing in regards to the book.
  • The Book from Beginning to End-44 chapters This is a site that has all the chapters that can be read online.
  • Classic Teacher’s Guide The information found on this page is from Penguin Classics. It gives a summary of the book as well as a short history into Jules Verne’s life.
  • Lesson Plan and Study Guide/PDF file This is a PDF file that gives historical commentary and a summary of the book. It also gives a brief insight into the man and his life.
  • Lesson Guide for 5th and 6th Grade Students Jules Verne had written quite a few books. On this page there is a lesson plan for Journey and Around the World in 80 Days.
  • Jules Verne: An Author before his Time This is a short biography of the author. It gives details on his life and career. There is detailed information on some of his books, including that of 2000 leagues beneath the Sea.
  • Jules Verne Facts You will find on this page information on the life of Jules Verne. It gives facts on his early life, life as a playwright and it speaks of his first novels and later works.
  • Teacher’s Lesson Plan The information on this page covers the historical commentary of the book written by Jules Verne. It gives information on the author’s life and a summary of the book. Also included are questions that students can answer after reading the novel.


The Layers of the Earth

In the text, Journey to the Center of the Earth, Jules Verne’s knowledge of the Earth’s structure is minimal (as representative of his time), for he believes it is accessible. Verne's novel explores the idea that a traveler will have a straight shot to the center of the Earth by entering the passageway that is located in Iceland. His imagination, though descriptive when it comes to making a science fiction story believable, held no scientific facts about the inside of the Earth, its composition or its layers. However, today we know more about the Earth’s layers because it has since been studied and documented. Currently held information shows that the exploration of the Earth has come a long way since the 1800’s and Jules Verne’s approach to science fiction. Below, we will take a look at the inside of the Earth’s structure and discover what Verne left out in his science fiction tale.


The Crust of the Earth

Looking at a diagram of the Earth, the crust is the outermost layer, and also where we live. This layer contains the continents and the oceans. When it comes to measuring how thick the crust is, it depends on the area being measured, for in regards to the continents, they can range anywhere from 50-70 km or kilometers in thickness, while the ocean basins have a thickness of 5-10 kilometers.


The Mantles: Upper and Lower

Right below the crust lies the mantle; this is a layer of semi solid rock. It is dense and hot and this is where the Earth gets it heat. This layer has a thickness of 2,900 kilometers. There are two parts to the mantle; it has an upper and lower level. Located in the upper layer of the mantle is the Lithosphere while in the lower level lies the Asthenosphere. The mantle is made up of iron, magnesium and calcium. The further you go into the mantle, the hotter and denser it becomes.


The Transition Region

If you were traveling with Jules Verne’s characters to the center of the Earth, you might think the transition region is a rest stop. However, in reality it is not. This area of the Earth’s core measures in depths of 250 to 406 miles. Another name for this area is called the Mesophere. It is made up of basaltic magmas, calcium, aluminum and garnet.


The D Layer

Right below the lower mantle lies a layer of the Earth called the D level. It has a thickness of 125 to 188 miles. It also reaches the depths of 2,700 to 2,890 kilometers. The D layer is located in the Ionosphere and it absorbs the most radiation and hard x-rays.

The Outer and Inner Cores

Approximately 3,000 miles beneath the Earth’s surface is the outer core. This is a level comprised of hot molten lava. It is believed that the lava has both nickel and iron in it. The outer core is said to have a thickness of 2,300 kilometers.

When traveling down to the center of the Earth as Jules Verne’s characters did in his science fiction tale, one would eventually come to the solid inner core of the Earth after having passed through all the other layers. The inner core is located 900 miles inward toward the center of the Earth on the surface and then 1,200 kilometers deeper in some depths.. The inner core is also made up of nickel and iron.


For more information on the layers of the Earth, please explore the following:

  • The Earth’s Interior Information contained on this site is from an encyclopedia source. It tells how the Earth works. It also has information on the Earth’s interior, going over how deep it is and its density.
  • Structure of the Earth You will find graphics on this page with buttons that will let you see inside the Earth. There is information on the mantle and the core with pictures.
  • The Earth’s Core Information provided on this page is a question and answer source. It considers the question “How far down is the core of the Earth?”
  • Inside the Earth-the Mantle On this page you will find out the size of the Earth. There is also information on the mantle. This article gives a picture and full description of what is taking place inside the Earth.
  • A Look at the Transition Region This site is easy reading and easy to understand as far as the layers of the Earth. It gives information on the inner and outer cores, Upper and Lower Mantle and the D Level.
  • All the Layers of the Earth You will find on this page, the depths of each of the layers that make up the Earth’s center. There is a diagram of the structure of the Earth’s interior.
  • Explorations in Science The information contained on this page explains all of the layers of the Earth. It contains graphics and charts and also gives the dimensions of the layers.
  • D Layer: Region of the Ionosphere Information found on this page covers the Earth’s atmosphere. It shows that the D Level is in the Ionosphere section of the Earth.
  • About the Planet Earth This web page takes an in depth look into planet Earth. You will find information on the layers, chemical properties and the major plates of the Earth.
  • The Earth’s Layers This is a lesson plan on the Earth’s layers. A simple click will take you to another page where you can discover the four major layers.
  • Lesson Plan This is a lesson plan article that has information on all the layers of the Earth. It is a teacher’s guide into teaching students about the layers of the Earth. This lesson plan is for 6 graders.
  • The Crust, Mantle and Core There is a lot of information on this page. Article covers such things as the outer and inner cores, the crust and the mantle.
  • The Four Main Layers of Earth This web page is very thorough in giving information on the Earth’s layers. It also gives graphic pictures showing details of each layer. 
  • The Outer & Inner Core If you have ever wondered what is inside the Earth, this article gives a brief explanation. It gives a summary of the levels by clicking on pictures of the diagram and is very informative.