1 October 2008
Chubby Banker Bunker
"I saw that my uncle was about to be metamorphosed into the fearsome Professor, and I made no reply.
'Now,' he went on, 'look at the manometer. What does it say?'
'It indicates a considerable pressure.'
'Good. You can see by descending gradually, and accustoming ourselves little by little to the density of this atmosphere, we have avoided any sort of inconvenience.'
'Except for slight ear-ache.'
'That's nothing, and you can get rid of it by breathing quickly, to equalize the pressure inside your lungs with that outside.'
'Yes, of course,' I replied, determined to say nothing more which might annoy my uncle. 'It's even a positive pleasure to live in this dense atmosphere. Have you noticed how clearly you can hear everything down here?'
'I have. A deaf man would soon come to hear perfectly in these conditions.'
'But won't this density increase?'
'Yes, in accordance with a rather uncertain law. It is true that the weight of matter will diminish as fast as we descend. You know that it is at the surface of the globe that weight is most perceptible, and that at the centre of the earth objects weigh nothing at all.'
'I know that; but tell me, won't this air we are breathing end up by acquiring the same density as water?'
'Probably, under a pressure of 710 atmospheres.'
'And lower down?'
'Lower down the density will increase even further.'
'Then how shall we continue our descent?'
'We shall have to fill our pockets with stones.'
'You have an answer for everything, Uncle.'"
Jules Verne, Journey to the Centre of the Earth, p. 145.