A new map exhibit documents evolving views of Earth’s interior | Science News

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A new map exhibit documents evolving views of Earth’s interior

‘Beneath Our Feet’ chronicles how people have envisioned the subsurface

7:00am, November 19, 2017
Kircher's map of Earth's core

NOT FAR OFF  Athanasius Kircher, a 17th century Jesuit scholar, imagined Earth’s core as a ball of fire. His and other historical and modern maps are on display at the Boston Public Library.

Much of what happens on the Earth’s surface is connected to activity far below. “Beneath Our Feet,” a temporary exhibit at the Norman B. Leventhal Map Center in the Boston Public Library, explores the ways people have envisioned, explored and exploited what lies underground.

“We’re trying to visualize those places that humans don’t naturally go to,” says associate curator Stephanie Cyr. “Everybody gets to see what’s in the sky, but not everyone gets to see what’s underneath.”

“Beneath Our Feet” displays 70 maps, drawings and archaeological artifacts in a bright, narrow exhibit space. (In total, the library holds a collection of 200,000 maps and 5,000 atlases.) Many objects have two sets of labels: one for adults and one for kids, who are guided by a cartoon rat mascot called Digger Burrows.

The layout puts the planet’s long history front and center. Visitors enter by walking over a

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