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Ask Marilyn: A Band Around the Earth
Harry Owen of Bar Harbor, Maine, writes:
Marilyn: Some years ago, your column included a question that is still on my mind. It was about a wire strung tightly around the planet and how much length could be added to allow some kind of animal to crawl under it. Could you please publish the question again?
Sure. Following is the reader's question:
Suppose the Earth were smooth, and you had a 25,000-mile-long metal band that you could wrap snugly around it. Now let's say that you lengthen the band by 10 feet, loosening it just a little. What would be the largest thing that could slither under the new band: an amoeba, a worm, a snake, or an alligator?
Surprisingly, an alligator could crawl under that slightly longer band, which would hover more than a foot and a half off the ground all around the planet.