“I think we all read that as children and I was most particularly excited by it a couple of years ago when I was in Western Iceland researching a big book on the Atlantic Ocean. I wanted to climb up the side of Snaefellsnes and look into what was, of course, the entry point for Verne’s explorers in Journey to the Centre of the Earth. So I did and I looked in and felt duly stimulated.The book is a fantastic piece of science fiction – it’s basically about explorers who want to know what’s inside the earth and they go in via Snaefellsnes in Iceland and they find lakes and crystal caves and wonderful things and then, eventually, they are blown out back into Iceland by an enormous eruption. When it was written, in the mid-19th century, there was this debate between two groups of scientists arguing about the origins of the earth. The Neptunists believed that all rocks came about from the precipitation of sea water. The Plutonists believed that all rocks had been belched out from the middle of the earth. Jules Verne knew about this debate, of course, and rather sided with the Plutonists. So modern-day geologists can read it to see how fanciful and stupid people’s ideas about the earth were. Jules Verne got it completely wrong. It’s fun but foolish.” Read more...
The best books on Volcanoes