913: Core

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If you're a geologist or geophysicist and you don't introduce yourself by saying your name, then gesturing downward and saying "... and I study that", I don't know what you're doing with your life.
Title text: If you're a geologist or geophysicist and you don't introduce yourself by saying your name, then gesturing downward and saying "... and I study that", I don't know what you're doing with your life.


This comic reflects on the fact that no matter where you are on Earth, its core is always directly under you, while incredibly hot and under huge amounts of pressure. Yet most of the time, we ignore this completely unless there is a volcanic eruption (which has nothing to do with the core, but mainly with the friction between the tectonic plates).

Cueball is presumably reading a geology book with diagrams and various facts about the Earth's interior, such as the core being subdivided into an inner core and an outer core, that the inner core is a solid ball, the size of the moon, that the outer core is at a pressure of 30 million pounds per square inch (approximately 2 million times atmospheric pressure at sea level) and the outer core is made of molten metal in a constant turbulent motion - a bit like a pot of boiling water. But every time he gets 15 minutes in to such a book he freaks out, realizing this deadly stuff is right beneath him, and he bends over to look down to the Earth.

The title text makes a note of how cool it would be to study this and be able to tell people you study what they're standing over... always! So if you do - then let everyone you meet know what you do for a living as soon as you introduce yourself by pointing at the ground beneath you! (Despite most geologists and geophysicists not studying the core, they do study what is beneath our feet.)


[A cutaway diagram of the Earth, with colored layers including a labeled outer core and inner core.]
[A closeup of the stylized outer core, labeled "Turbulent molten metals at 30 million PSI" with turbulence lines, and of the inner core, labeled "moon-sized iron sphere."]
[Cueball reading a book pulls legs up tight under office chair, peering downwards.]
[Caption below the frame:]
I freak out about fifteen minutes into reading anything about the Earth's core when I suddenly realize it's RIGHT UNDER ME.


What people of different science fields would often think about became the subject of 2057: Internal Monologues. Geologist are not included, but the molten core beneath our feet would probably have been the choice if they had. That Randall was actually already thinking about adding geology was made clear in the next comic 2058: Rock Wall about the core/mantle beneath our feet and 20 miles of rock (wall).

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And the crust is just thin enough that volcanoes and earthquakes are a thing. Safety! Davidy²²[talk] 01:30, 17 April 2013 (UTC)

Isn't the glancing down and saying "I study that" a reference to something more inappropriate? ~ JFreund

I think that's the joke. NealCruco (talk) 17:27, 17 March 2014 (UTC)
No it isn't. That interpretation is not related to the comic in any way. Removed the last paragraph of the explanation as it is irrelevant to the comic. R3TRI8UTI0N (talk) 03:01, 24 March 2023 (UTC)
Are you more sure than the many people who would have read this over the years and not decided to remove the comment? Very admirable of you to be so impulsively certain. 03:43, 24 March 2023 (UTC)
I'll admit that it is a possible interpretation, but it is most definitely not Randall's intention while making this comic. If you want, go ahead and add it to the trivia section. I'm not doing it. R3TRI8UTI0N (talk) 03:32, 27 July 2023 (UTC)

I agree. If you stand with your arm at shoulder height and gesture downwards, saying "I study that", you will be pointing both toward the center of the earth and at your own genitals. That is the joke in the title text. (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)

Am I the only one who thinks that that interpretation is dumb? It's clearly just a non-joking comment about how awesome it is to study the planet billions of humans live on, or so I think. That's right, Jacky720 just signed this (talk | contribs) 17:28, 22 June 2019 (UTC)
No, I think you're right. The genital theory could be considered a humorous opening to a speech, but I believe it is a reference to the planet below everyone. 15:50, 17 December 2019 (UTC)

And if Carlos Saldanha,s documentary is correct, the earth will be filled - FILLED - with velociraptors. 15:25, 29 August 2014 (UTC)

FYI: It's not right under you. It's more like far, far, very far away from you. AND it's quite some time behind you, left of you, right of you, in front of you, and sometimes even above you. See also! (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)