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Down to earth

21 January 2021

Lockdown may be restricting your travel plans at present but one Year 7 pupil has been journeying to the centre of the Earth, as part of his studies at Westminster City School.

Geography teacher, Ms Baulcomb, explains: “Year 7 have just started a new unit of work about tectonic hazards. In last week’s remote lesson, they learned about the different layers inside the Earth and their characteristics. They were then asked to show off their learning by writing a story about an imaginary journey to the centre of the Earth.

“The story, below, was written by Suhaib in 7H. I think it's an excellent piece of work and I was really impressed by both his creativity and level of geographical details. Well done Suhaib!”

Journey to the centre of the Earth
by Suhaib, 7H

I was beginning to sweat - and I hadn't even drilled into the crust yet. 

My task was to commandeer a prototype drill vehicle through the Earth, all the way to the centre. The scariest thing? The fact that it hadn't even been tested.  

I tried to calm down, took deep breaths as I sat in the cockpit, then began.  

Firstly, I had to prime the machine - which involved pushing a button and cranking a handle to start the drill. 

Gritting my teeth, I put all my weight against the red button marked "catch" and then cranked the handle as if my life depended on it. The drill vehicle ran on a diesel engine (an EMD 567 to be precise) borrowed from a locomotive, and so was rather difficult to start. 

Luckily, the engine start didn't take too long, and the enormous alloy drill was whirring merrily. 

"You'll have five hours to drill to the bottom and fetch samples. By the time you get back up, we'll have dinner ready!" yelled a technician .above the whirr and belch of the engine. 

Unsure, I gave the "OK" signal, then let the drill bore into the crust of the earth. 

As I drilled through the crust, the layers of soil, metal etc. were clearly distinguishable. Within the  first few seconds of my journey, I could make out the rich, brown soil at the very surface, then the rocky layer, and eventually the level at which fossils could be found. 

Soon, I began to get hot, and activated the air-conditioning. The view from the cockpit became steamy, and all I could make out was a seething, pulsing mass of red-hot molten magma. 

Eventually, I reached 1,800 miles below the surface - the outer core. Already the vehicle was beginning to feel like it were melting (although I knew it wouldn't) and outside, instead of the red-grey mass of magma, I could see bubbling, molten... was that iron?

The thermometer began to read 4500 degrees Celsius and I cranked up the air conditioning to full as I went for the final stretch to the centre. 

Then the drill started to grind and grate against solid metal. My progress had been impeded by something!!! A LUMP OF ALMOST UNIMAGINIBLY HOT, SEETHING iron, solid due to the huge amount of pressure!

Shaking with fear, I ordered the vehicle to take a sample of the metal. 

Then, I set off for the surface.

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