collage of bones, insects, a volcano, a dinosaur, and a skull

Journey to the Center of the Earth

by Jules Verne

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How deep is the expedition in Journey to the Center of the Earth?

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In Journey to the Center of the Earth, while the expedition is able to advance deep into the earth's interior, they never reach the planet's center. Over the centuries since Saknussemm's time, the passageway leading further into the planet's depths had become blocked. After they use explosives to try to open a path, they are ultimately launched upwards through a second volcano, thus returning to the surface.

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Ultimately, it should be remembered that although Jules Verne's novel might be titled Journey to the Center of the Earth, the expedition never actually reaches its intended destination or completes the path that Saknussemm had charted hundreds of years before them.

In this novel, Lidenbrock and Axel, with the help of Hans Bjelke, descend into the crater of an Icelandic volcano, seeking to begin a journey that would lead to the Earth's center. In the process, they do descend deep into the planet's unknown subterranean depths, and, perhaps most notable among their discoveries, they find an entire subterranean sea, complete with its own surrounding beaches and ecosystem, preserving ancient lifeforms that (on the surface at least) had gone extinct millions of years before. At one point, they attempt to cross this underground ocean, but their attempts end up frustrated, as they are swept back toward where they'd come from.

Exploring their surroundings further, they discover that Saknussemm had passed through this area on his way toward the earth's center and find evidence of another passageway that leads further toward the planet's depths. However, in the centuries since Saknussemm's time, the entryway has become blocked, preventing further advancement. They use explosives to blow open a path, a decision that sets in motion the final leg of their adventure, as, helplessly clinging to their raft, they are expelled from the ocean and launched back to the surface of the earth through another volcano.

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