National Geographic : 2009 Jun
MAP: JEROME N. COOKSON, NG STAFF GEOGRAPHY EQUATOR Asunción, Paraguay Taipei, Taiwan Hamilton, Bermuda (U.K.) Perth, Australia Bogotá, Colombia Jakarta, Indonesia Santiago, Chile Xian, China Lamar, Colorado (U.S.) Amsterdam Island (France) Antipodes Islands, New Zealand Cherbourg, France Pitcairn Island (U.K.) Doha, Qatar Fiji Islands Timbuktu (Tombouctou), Mali Island of Hawaii, Hawaii (U.S.) Okavango Delta, Botswana Bellingshausen Station (Russian), Antarctica Siberia, Russia Auckland, New Zealand Seville, Spain NORTH AMERICA SOUTH AMERICA AUSTRALIA ANTARCTICA ANTARCTICA ASIA AFRICA EUROPE To within 62 miles (100 kilometers) To within 124 miles (200 kilometers) Antipodes 0mi 1,000 0km SCALE AT THE EQUATOR 1,000 Polar Opposites It's a childhood riddle: Where would you end up if you dug a hole to the other side of the world? (Of course, that's assuming one could survive tunneling through the molten innards of the Earth.) Kids in the United States are usually led to imagine that they'd pop up like groundhogs in a rice field in China. Wrong. One look at a map of antipodes---places on exact opposite sides of the globe---shows that an American digger would end up in the Indian Ocean. As for sandbox fantasists in China, some would luck out and emerge on land in Chile. The word "antipodes" in Latin means "those with the feet opposite," a reference to the old European belief that people south of the Equator had feet growing from their heads. They should have been thinking fins: From most locations in the Northern Hemisphere, the opposite spot is water, since oceans cover 70 percent of the Earth. Playing antipodes produces amusing pairings. Bermudans would still enjoy sea breezes by Perth, Australia, but climate shock would await Timbuktu's desert dwellers, who'd come up near tropical Fiji. And as one player says, "Imagine the disappoint- ment of someone digging their way out of Siberia and ending up in Antarctica." ---Tom O'Neill FIND YOUR GLOBAL OPPOSITE A view of the Earth's antipodes reveals relatively few overlappings of land (dark red areas). EQUATOR Seville, Spain Auckland, New Zealand AFRICA AUSTRALIA ASIA Seville is Auckland's antipode.