Imagine that, suddenly, a rather large cone shaped hole from the core to the crust appeared. All the land mass of the cone just vanished.

Which could be the changes that this event would produce in every possible aspect? You can both assume the scenario of the ocean falling to the hole or land surrounding the edge.

Edit: the area of the bottom of the cone is similar to USA.

  • $\begingroup$ where are you thinking about removing this amount of the earth? The centre of Eurasia would have a lot less impact $\endgroup$
    – Chris J
    Sep 7, 2016 at 12:23
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    $\begingroup$ First thing is that the magnetic field of earth is going to be disrupted. Secondly the magma would cover up most of your cone leaving a fulcrum. Now you have a really large lake of lava on the crust of the earth. $\endgroup$
    – Skye
    Sep 7, 2016 at 12:24
  • $\begingroup$ @ChrisJ I am also interested in the effect under different scenarios, like the one you propose. $\endgroup$
    – MEPx
    Sep 7, 2016 at 14:04
  • $\begingroup$ @Sky I am still getting used to this forum, but why does my question deserve a vote down? And why your edit is better than the original if it eliminates info about the size of the hole? I think "the base is the size of USA" is more accurate than "rather large". Just questioning, no offense intended. $\endgroup$
    – MEPx
    Sep 7, 2016 at 14:07
  • $\begingroup$ every one dies at the end $\endgroup$
    – MolbOrg
    Sep 7, 2016 at 14:18

2 Answers 2


The US has an area of 9.857 million km²

The earth has an area of 510.1 million km²

So the earth would suddenly lose a little under 2% of it's mass.

Within seconds:

Suddenly there's something like 20 billion cubic km of vacuum where liquid rock and rock used to be.

This is unfortunate since the earth may not have enough air to fill the hole.

A storm the like of which the world has never seen with winds at the speed of sound tears in the direction of the hole. Water flood in around the edges but not nearly so fast.

Anyone near the border is dead immediately as winds tear buildings and sections of city into the hole.

but that's ok, those people were going to die soon even if the hole wasn't a vacuum.

Within minutes:

The earths atmosphere around the hole basically falls into the hole. A front spreads at the speed of sound from the hole.

The material of the core and mantle would collapse into the vacant space, the energy of the sudden violent movement would heat it up to an even higher temperature than it currently is.

The hole would be far too big to hold itself open against gravity; On that scale, the rock in the crust would behave more like a liquid. In the space of about half an hour, the hole would undergo a slow-motion collapse.

As they collapsed, the rocks around the hole would heat to a glow. At the center of the hole, a white-hot jet of rock would fountain outward into space.

Some of this would shoot off into space, some would end up in orbit and megatons of white hot lava would simply rain down across the earth.

Earthquakes would crack the crust like an egg across much of the planet as shockwaves rippled out. Tsunamis would tear across the atlantic and pacific and wipe out most of the cities along either coast.

Within hours:

Even the indian ocean probably wouldn't be spared since shockwaves would likely focus together at the exact opposite side of the world to the US as well causing the crust at that location to tear open.

Over the following hours and days volcanos would burst to life or form anew across much of the planet as the earths crust shifted.

megatons of air and water flooding into the hole is causing explosions and ejections of material larger than the largest megavolcano.

Within weeks:

The sky is filled with ash and poison. The sun is blotted out.

Ocean levels drop globally as water continues to drain into the massive hole.

The water flash boils blowing gigatons of material into the atmosphere.

Earthquakes on a scale never seen before continue to turn cities to rubble everywhere. The tectonic plates themselves likely crack.

Within months:

Humanity has little chance of surviving this.

  • $\begingroup$ Reminds me of that tv show talking about what if a mini black hole thing shot through the earth ( Hey, just like superman! Where amazingly enough he doesn't cause massive fluctuation in the mantle) $\endgroup$
    – Skye
    Sep 7, 2016 at 12:57
  • $\begingroup$ Thank you for your answer. What do you think would happen in larger scales of time? Would the Earth collapse and get smaller? Also, what about the orbit? $\endgroup$
    – MEPx
    Sep 7, 2016 at 14:12
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    $\begingroup$ If mass is removed from the earth, it would stay in the same (solar) orbit. On the other hand, the orbit of the moon around the earth might alter; they both orbit around their common center of gravity and if earth had less mass that location would shift (at least a little). $\endgroup$ Sep 8, 2016 at 7:46
  • $\begingroup$ @MEPx it would get about 2% smaller by volume. it's orbit wouldn't change much, only a tiny tiny bit if a lot of material is ejected faster than escape velocity in the initial collapse. $\endgroup$
    – Murphy
    Sep 8, 2016 at 11:14

No steady flows of anything to core of the earth

Earth core pressure is 360GPa, Inner core, and temperature something like 5700 K

This will be planetary scale cataclysm, with no survivors.

It is hard to tell how process will evolve over time and correctly to describe it, but few moments.

High pressure which is way much bigger then in cannons when they shoot, in rockets when they fly, much higher then strengths of most known materials. Until that cone will seal, we have to expect some geyser of iron-nickel mass

Pressure will lead to massive shoot out, ejecting of materials from earth core. I guess some of that materials will leave our solar system, some will orbit sun, some orbit earth, some will land back to earth surface.

Nice moment about core it is believed to be Iron-nickel alloy, and nice thing about Iron(as nickel but I'm less familiar with) it burns in atmosphere, for education.

Good jump-start in that process will be high initial temperature of core (although it decompressing will cool materials down - but overall process will probably heat it back enough, for ignition and evaporation) - hard to tell.

Total mass of atmosphere 5.1e18 kg, for FeO composition it needs to burn 3.8e18kg of iron, which is something like 80x80x80km chunk of iron to burn. So part of mass which will not leave our solar system, but land back to earth surface is not big, compared to sizes of earth core.

For last bacteria to die it will take some time(maybe a week), but mammals will die within one day after the event.

Main hazard eventually will be falling chunks of molten iron-nickel, magma, etc - all over the surface, as later bombardment over 1000's of years.

Second factor is process of sealing that cone hole - crust breakage, seismic activity over entry earth, continental platform breakage etc.

Scale of effects depends on size of bottom of that cone, hard to tell if cone with 1km base will vanish all live or not(will be enough for many of mammals), 100km base - might be might be.

  • $\begingroup$ Size bottom of the cone = USA. You talk about materials being launched out of the Solar System, how do you think this would affect our orbit? $\endgroup$
    – MEPx
    Sep 7, 2016 at 15:11
  • $\begingroup$ hard to tell, but if you thinking about collisions with other planets - no. Without estimations, I would call orbital changes as small, insignificant. $\endgroup$
    – MolbOrg
    Sep 7, 2016 at 16:44

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