Journey to the Center


The 1959 release of "Journey to the Center of the Earth" had great special effects for its time. Although a bit overly dramatic, the movie presents an interesting view of what the interior of Earth is like. Students are challenged to accept or reject the 'science' portrayed in the movie. 

After students have learned a bit about what it's like underground from the surface of the planet's crust all the way down to the planet's core, they get a chance to view clips listed below. And, of course, they have to decide whether the "science" portrayed in the movie is reasonable or completely bogus.

Unfortunately, science is no match for fantasy since every year at least one group of students is CONVINCED that dinosaurs still live underground, just like in the movie!

1959 "Journey to the Center of the Earth" -- science analysis
Chapter Event + / - Good Science-Yes / Bad Science-Bogus (& why?)
12 Expedition Equipment
16 Climbing down with ropes & passageway
17 Rock climbing along wall, using pitons, & earthquakes
22 Waterfalls & crystals in cave
24 Rock bridge & salt caves
28 Bioluminescence on walls provides constant source of light
28 Salt problems with lamps (corrosion)
28 Cooler temperatures (!!?)
29 Mushrooms & food source
30 Underground ocean with light source & waves!
31 Carnivorous Dimetrodon dinosaurs
32 Out in the ocean on a mushroom raft, magnetic attraction (gold?!), center of earth, whirlpool
35 Atlantis altar stone made out of serpentine (form of asbestos, they say)
38 Atlantis Ruins -- air shaft
38 Giant man-eating lizard (salamander?)
38 Altar stone is pushed to surface by lava eruption & people survive
39 It's an earthquake! Old seismograph
39 Surviving being thrown out of mouth of volcano into ocean ~ 2,000 miles from where they started in Iceland
Your final thoughts on the MOVIE! As a scientist, what overall rating would you give this movie on its scientific accuracy on a scale of 1-10 and WHY?