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March 25th, 2011
Ever Hear of an Antipode??

If you started digging...would you eventually find yourself in China?

Through the magic of the internets, we're now easily able to discover just where we'd pop out if we really dug a hole through the center of the Earth. This map is handy for finding out a rough approximation of the antipodal (opposite) point of any place in the world, while this one is better for a bit more precision.

So if you were to dig a hole to the exact opposite side of the Earth, would you really end up in China? Not unless you live in certain parts of Chile or Argentina. In my case, I'd need to bring my swimming trunks, and so would almost all residents of the continental US, as we'd end up in the Indian Ocean between southern Africa and Australia.

Somehow, the phrase "dig a hole to somewhere between southern Africa and Australia" just doesn't work.

But if you do dig a hole to China, you might expect to see....The map on this page allows you to approximately locate the place directly on the other side of the world from anywhere. The complementary red and black outlines are reversed, so that a place in the right place on the black outline map is directly opposite the place on the red outlines. The red outline map is "upside down", with south at the top, so it may be a little confusing to locate places on it.

For example, you can look in the Indian Ocean area of the black outline map, and you can see there the USA in red, upside down between the black outlines of Africa and Australia. If your geography is adequate, you can tell that the furthest away place from New York in the world is a spot a few hundred miles southwest of Perth, Australia, off in the Ocean.

The map does not show small islands well, and several tiny, remote, windblown French posessions in the southern Indian Ocean are not visible. These uninhabited islands are the only land antipodal to land in the contiguous 48 United States: A slice of far northern Montana is directly opposite the Kerguelen Islands, while St. Paul and Amsterdam Islands are opposite southeastern Colorado. Outside the "Lower 48", far northern Alaksa is opposite coastal East Antarctica, and Hawaii is antipodal to the Kalahari Desert in northern Botswana.

The following is a list of very approximate pairs of antipodal cities. Since about 80% of the world's land is antipodal to ocean, this list is necessarily very short. Since the paired cities below are as far apart as possible, they are probably the most expensive pairs of cities when it comes to flying or telephoning between them.

Svalbard, Norway  McMurdo Sound, Antarctica
La Coruna, Spain  Christchurch, New Zealand
Leon, Spain  Wellington, New Zealand 
Seville, Spain  Auckland, New Zealand 
Timbuktu, Mali  Fiji 
Bermuda  Perth, Australia 
Bogota, Colombia  Jakarta, Indonesia 
Lima, Peru  Bangkok, Thailand 
Asuncion, Paraguay  Taipei, Taiwan 
Santiago, Chile  Xian, China 
Buenos Aires, Argentina  Shanghai, China 
Cordoba, Argentina  Wuhan, China 
Bahia Blanca, Argentina  Beijing, China 




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