Recently I've taken an exceptionally unwise interest in the beliefs on conspiracy theorists, in particular flat earthers. Flat earthism has been trending heavily lately and indeed is undergoing some sort of revival. Of course, such beliefs run afoul of all scientific disciplines, including geology and geography.

This made me remember of the use of seismic waves to map the core of the earth and also the detection of earthquakes from remote parts of the globe. These, or course, rely on the true globular nature of the Earth.

Question: Are there particularly accessible or convincing accounts of such large scale detectable geologic phenomenon that implicitly rely on the globular geometry of the Earth?

Google would probably suffice but I'm not sure I have the correct terminology. [My background is in mathematics, in case that would be helpful.]

Edit: Let me clarify my request by asking for resources on global seismology which could be effectively presented to someone at college freshman level of education.

  • $\begingroup$ Downvoted, like all questions that depend on an unscientific premise — evidence from the bible, deluded conspiratorists, perpetual motion machines, etc. $\endgroup$
    – Matt Hall
    Aug 22, 2016 at 17:37

1 Answer 1


As you rightly say, seismicity is one geological proof of an almost spherical planet, but surely it is far easier to prove your case by satellite data, such as scenes from http://weather.msfc.nasa.gov/GOES/ Irrespective of the position of the satellite, the Earth always appears as a disc, never 'edge on'. For that matter, if the Earth wasn't approximately spherical there wouldn't be any stable satellite orbits - so no satellite pictures in the first place. You could use your mathematical skills to demonstrate that the only stable orbital configuration is around a sphere. Also the consistency of gravity, at any known point on the planet's surface, points to a spherical Earth. Then there are commercial and military flights which have, over time, flown arcs along almost every conceivable great circle, without ever coming to an edge. Turning to astronomy, every stellar or planetary object large enough to form under gravity appears as a disc - never edge on - surely no coincidence..... etc. etc.

But I'm curious - why bother?! You are never going to convince the likes of creationists, climate-change deniers, 'flat earthers', and the like. They have already made up their mind, and don't want to be confused by the facts. No matter how much evidence you supply, it is like water off a duck's back to the closed mind. They are comfortable with their own warped model of reality in their head - no matter how erroneous. Paradoxically, they view the discomfort of having to adjust their world view as a form of 'cognitive dissonance'. So trying to convince flat earthers is like the proverbial 'flogging a dead horse'.

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    $\begingroup$ Thanks, good link. You are right with "why bother?!". However, I do think the public is less aware of global seismology than, say, global meteorological imaging. Resources that could communicate or summarize global seismology would be useful. I myself no little about it, beyond the various types of waves and the general idea of tomography itself. $\endgroup$
    – Rex Butler
    Jun 28, 2016 at 5:21
  • $\begingroup$ The problem is that there may come a day when the majority of the population believes in a flat earth. They would impose an education in which the earth is flat, gravity does not exist, atoms do not exist, viruses do not exist, evolution does not exist... These people don't believe on satellites. And they can ask... Why should the Earth be spherical if many galaxies are flat? $\endgroup$
    – skan
    Oct 28, 2022 at 11:10

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