Mansfield’s Place On the Earth: Latitude 40.7584° N.

When I was a kid I heard about how the earth rotated every 24 hours, and they said it actually moved quite quickly, even though we are apparently hypnotized into not feeling it.

I had this very clear concept that if you could get up above the town, higher than the tops of the trees and above Richland Bank, and stay up there off the planet for a while, the world would go rushing by underneath and after a little while you could come down and you’d be out west somewhere without ever having really left.

I thought it was a brilliant idea and couldn’t really imagine why no one had tried it yet, so I asked my geology teacher about it.

They always say in class that there is no such thing as a stupid question but I had a geology teacher whose face said otherwise. Her words did however, do the right thing and she explained, as if to someone who didn’t speak the language, that when the planet moved the atmosphere went with it.

I had not the foggiest sense of what that was supposed to mean. For some reason she was using some kind of doubletalk to discourage me from trying out my idea.

The Research

I was willing to accept her word at face value as far as that went, but I never stopped believing; never stopped dreaming.  If anything, the facts only made me more curious: what was out there in the planet due west of here?  What would I see if the world spun eastward underneath me while I hovered over Mansfield’s place on the globe?


Right away I got an almanac and looked up the latitude of our city—its exact distance from the equator—because I knew that the latitudinal line extended clear around the Earth through all the places that would pass through the Mansfield coordinates.

It is 40.7584° N.

And I did the math: the earth at the Mansfield level of northern hemisphere is approximately 18,887 miles in circumference, so in order for it all to pass by within 24 hours it must move at around 787 miles per hour.

So if I went up over the Square at high noon, by only 12:30 PM I would be over top of Peoria IL…or it would be passing underneath me.

At that rate the first tourist stop would be at approximately 2 PM: that is when Salt Lake City would go by under my feet.

The Mansfield parallel crosses through Salt Lake City about 5 blocks south of the Mormon Tabernacle, but Temple Square is easy to spot from above.

There are mountains surrounding the Utah capital however, so before the Utah earth could pass below me I would have to ascend considerably from where I launched at the Richland Bank building.

Mansfield is 1241 feet above sea level; the Utah peaks standing directly between here and there are over 9,000 feet, and the continental divide could entail at least another 1,000 feet above that.  

I read that the Richland Bank building is 98.22 feet tall, so my hovering device needs to rise 100 times the bank in order to see into Salt Lake City.

Getting high enough above the Richland Bank building to make it over the Continental Divide requires an altitude of nearly 11,000 feet, so make sure to take your hoodie because it’s cold up there.

2:47 PM The Mansfield 40.7584° parallel exits the continental United States close to Eureka CA and heads westward to Japan.

3 PM – 9 PM The next 6 hours of hover time over Mansfield as the earth spins underneath will be spent contemplating the profound beauty of the Pacific Ocean.

9:09 PM The Mansfield latitude passes through northern Japan within sight of Mt. Iwaki. The line then extends through the Sea of Japan into North Korea.

10:45 PM From the Mansfield point of view we can see Beijing to the south and pass over a segment of the Great Wall.

12 AM – 5 AM The longest part of the show is the Asiatic expanses where the Mansfield latitude passes through the Gobi Desert and then Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan; the Caspian Sea.  Then Azerbaijan, Armenia, Turkey.

5 AM At 17 hours aloft the place that passes underneath the Mansfield parallel is the ancient seat of culture in the Agean Sea: the island of Thassos. Our line runs almost exactly through the Thassos Acropolis where a 3rd century BC amphitheater showed Greek drama for a thousand years, before Roman Gladiators used the arena.

5:37 AM Hovering above the Square in Mansfield affords a perfect aerial view of Pomeii, where in 79 AD a firestorm of ash rained down from the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius, looming only 4 miles away.

6:43 AM The plains of Spain pass right underneath the Mansfield latitude, just north of Madrid, and then step off the European continent at Torreira, Portugal.

7:07AM – 11:15AM Probably about half of the 24 hour hovertime above the Mansfield latitude involves watching the oceans and seas go by, which is considerably less than you might expect from a planet that is 71 percent covered with water.

11: 27 AM Passing right through the heart of New York City, the Mansfield parallel crosses midtown between Times Square and the Empire State Building.

12 Noon  By train it used to take overnight to get from New York to Mansfield; driving time is around 8 hours.  You can fly there in about an hour and a half.  If you simply hover on the 40.7584° N. parallel while the earth whizzes by at 787 MPH it takes only 33 minutes.

What to make of this:

The important point to ponder here is this: physicists since Einstein have been telling us that time doesn’t really exist; that it is an illusion we humans have adopted in order to keep existence orderly and more easy to keep track of.

In reality, all of everything is happening all at once: which means that all of these vastly different places on the globe are occupying our Mansfield space right now, at this very moment.

Beijing, Pompeii, the Mormon Tabernacle, the Empire State Building: they are all part of our 40.7584 continuum somehow.

It should be theoretically possible for you to step out your driveway into the smoke and ashes of Vesuvius, if you simply sidestep the dictates of the 24 hour clock.

It’s all a matter of perspective.

It’s a lot like going to Oz: a whole new world without ever even having to leave home.

In my latitude journey I didn’t travel around the world: the world came right to me.

It turns out Mansfield is a place of many layers; many secret and hidden worlds all in one: both exotic and romantic, ancient in tradition, steeped in culture.

Mansfield on the 40.7584 parallel.



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