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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Describe the various terrains in Journey to the Center of the Earth.

Quick answer:

In Journey to the Center of the Earth, the explorers encounter different kinds of terrain as they travel. They begin in the crater of a dormant volcano where they see three vents and must wait for the sun to show them the right one. They then enter into a world of dark tunnels before they find a grotto like “a magnificent hall.” The group also encounters a vast underground sea and an area filled with fossils and living creatures.

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In Journey to the Center of the Earth, Professor Otto Lidenbrock, his nephew Axel, and their guide, Hans, encounter some very strange terrains as they journey far beneath the surface of the earth and follow the instructions of a coded document left by an earlier explorer.

As the group proceeds into the crater of a dormant volcano, they find three vents and a large rock at the bottom. Lidenbrock knows that they must wait until the sun is at just the right angle to cast a shadow from the rock onto the correct passage that will take them below the earth. They remain in this desolate place until the sun shines, and then they begin their descent into darkness. At the bottom, they find a corridor and enter into it.

Axel is struck by the beauty of the lava formations inside the volcano, and the group realizes that they are ten thousand feet down below sea level. At a fork in the tunnel, the group takes the wrong way and must retrace their steps. They are running low on water as they begin down the second path. They hear water running, and Hans breaks through a wall to get to it. The released stream flows with them. They soon find themselves in a vast grotto that is like a “magnificent hall.”

As the group continues to travel, they come to the edge of a vast sea. The cavern is filled with a strange glow. They cross the sea over several days and encounter a storm, complete with an orb of electricity that bursts into flames. Finally their raft crashes onto rocks, but they realize that they have landed exactly where they started from.

The professor and Axel take the raft and explore along the shore. As they look around, they discover dinosaur bones in large numbers and even a full human skeleton of giant size. Then they see living animals that look like mastodons and even a twelve-foot-tall human figure.

As the group moves on in their journey, now with Hans again in tow, they find a cave, but it is blocked by rock. They use explosives to open the way, but this backfires, for the explosion releases the water from the lake, and the group is carried with it, falling at a great rate. They end up in a narrow shaft, and the water is rising yet again. They are moving toward the surface, judging from the rock layers, and pretty soon they are blown out of the earth onto a mountain slope. Their journey to the center of the earth is over.

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